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 https://youaremytoppriority.blogspot.com/2019/05/why-i-work-by-referrals.html

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? Well...today'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.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Mortgages with Rhonda Lorimer

Owning your own home is probably one of the biggest investments you will ever make in your lifetime. While I help with the buying and selling side of things, there are other areas that need taking care of before the deal is final. Today I have asked our Mortgage Specialist here at Re/Max, Rhonda Lorimer, to give us a little insight on the mortgage side of things. Please welcome my special guest, Rhonda.


Thanks for having me Mary-Lou. As most of you know, part of buying or selling a home is the mortgage and the pre-approval process. Before the transaction goes through on the sale of a home, we have to make sure all finances are in place.

Is it time to renew or refinance your mortgage? If you just said "Yes", then we need to talk.

In the present market, we are experiencing historically low interest rates (many factors do contribute to this, however, our current pandemic could also play a part). Fixed term rates have never been lower and we may see a rise in rates in the latter part of 2021. It will likely take a little time, as the economy slows to recover post pandemic.

Also, it is an important part of homebuyers planning to have all your financial matters organized and obtain a pre-approval in order to start looking for your forever home. These days, with the competitive market, REALTORS® want to ensure you have been pre-approved before making an offer.

With Mortgage rates at an all time low, NOW is an excellent time to assess your renovation projects, to take advantage of your homes equity. Maybe it's time to renew at an amazing rate if your current mortgage term is maturing. My lending partners will hold interest rates for 120 days!

Now, let's say you would like to buy a home for $250,000. I have created a mockup of the mortgage break down over 25 years at different percentages. Some new home buyers may have questions regarding the process so here are a few key questions that you as a new homeowner may potentially ask:
  • How much of a mortgage can I afford based on my particular situation?
  • How much do I need to save for a down payment on a purchase?
  • What are the closing costs, and what is the expected amount I should save?  (Deed transfer tax and legal costs, conservatively 3% of purchase price)
  • What should I take in account for the future? (What you can afford today, may differ if you had a reduction of earnings)
  • What type of mortgage is best for me? (A fixed term, adjustable rate mortgage or variable?)
I just want to say thank you to Mary-Lou for having me as a guest on her blog today and if any of you need answers to any of the questions or further information regarding mortgages, I'd love to hear from you. Thanks again Mary-Lou. Cheers!


There you have it folks. There is more to buying and selling a home than meets the eye. From mortgages to inspections - it is a process and a team effort. Thanks to Rhonda for her expert advice today and thanks to all of you for reading. If buying or selling a home is in your future, please check out my previous blogs regarding the offer process as well as decluttering your home and home staging.

Until next time - Keep it "REAL" - The BEST is the LEAST I can do!

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Demand and Supply: REAL ESTATE

I'm sure you have often heard the following terms...Buyers Market & Sellers Market, but do you know what the difference is?

The property market is determined by supply and demand of real estate, which then dictates whether it is currently a Buyers market or if it is a Sellers market. Experiencing a Buyers market simply means there are more homes for sale than there are buyers.

A Seller's market is just the opposite. A Seller's market is when there are more Buyers looking for homes than actual homes for sale. Homes listed during a Sellers market will often be sold faster than average and possibly for a higher selling price. Here's a quick break down between the two...

Here at Re/Max we keep track of our monthly stats. Everything from how many homes sold since January 1 (of this year), the average listing price, the average days on market, and so much more. If you like to view stats, I have attached the Re/Max stats to date for your convenience so you can see for yourself.

I'm only a phone call or an email away if you have any questions regarding real estate or the stats you see above. I'd be happy to speak to you regarding this or any other real estate needs and/or questions you may have. I hope you found this helpful.

Thanks for reading and until next time... Keep It "REAL"

My business runs on referrals. Click to read one of my recent testimonials -->

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Why I Work By Referrals

This week, I'd like to share a story with you. It is the story of Grant and Cindy Crowson. Their story about living on a boat in Florida and finding a home in Nova Scotia. A story of...well, a day in the life of a real estate agent. Here is their testimonial...
In late 2018 I (Grant) was offered a position in Dartmouth. At the time we were alternating between Ontario in the summer and Florida (on a boat) in the winter. After much discussion, my wife and I decided that this would be a fantastic opportunity. We decided that a condominium would best suit our needs. But, we were living in Florida at that time and we felt this whole process was going be very complicated. We contacted a friend, who contacted a friend, who recommended Mary-Lou. From the outset we couldn’t have been in better hands. She was professional, courteous and very accommodating. Mary-Lou stepped up. She set up a link to our own page where she placed potential condos that fit our criteria. She was available when we called her and if not, she got back to us as soon as she could. We selected a condo. Being in Florida, she walked us through via Facebook messenger. She showed the condo, the building and storage area. All the while, making valuable comments and suggestions. We decided to buy the unit but the agreement was dependent on closing in three weeks. And...it was through the Christmas season. Mary-Lou coordinated the offers and counter offers. These were all done through electronic signing. The legal documents were complete via e-mail and the closing inspection. The entire sale went off without a hitch in a very short time frame. I cannot say enough great things about our experience with Mary-Lou. We were over-joyed with the results. The condo was more than we had expected. What a great feeling. Moving to a new province knowing that you have a place to call home in such a welcoming community!! Thank you so much Mary-Lou.

It was a pleasure working with Grant and Cindy. Knowing their restraint, I did the best I could to get them a home and it was a smooth transaction.  Being a real estate agent is more than selling and buying homes. It is the relationships I make along the way. Cindy and Grant are moved in and settled now and have had me and my husband over for dinner.  Our business acquaintance has turned into a lasting friendship which I value most in my line of work.  They know I am here for them to help them with any of their needs. Weather it is a mechanic, notary republic, or the best Chinese food in town. I am their go to...and that is why I work by referrals.

Thanks for reading. Until next time,
Keep It "REAL"

Monday, April 29, 2019

Spring is FINALLY here!

Spring is finally here, which means...Summer is just around the corner! Now that we have the house freshened up (https://youaremytoppriority.blogspot.com/2019/04/get-your-home-ready-for-summer.html), it's time to think of ways you can show it off! It's almost time for BBQ's, bonfire's and backyard parties...and here, is how we plan it.

  1. Holiday weekends are great, but keep in mind, guests might already be going to another party, so send invites early!
  2. Consider posting a poll on social media to find a date that works best for your friends
  1. Send invitations via social media, email or mail.
  2. Will you keep it small or go all out?
  3. Confirm attendance with guests a few weeks before to determine the amount of food and drinks you'll need.

Determine what food you'll serve and how you'll prepare it. Choose one or a combination of these options:
  1. Cook your own
  2. Host a potluck
  3. Hire a caterer
  1. Make sure the patio or party space is refreshed!
  2. Update or polish up old furniture
  3. Consider adding fun amenities like string lights or a fire pit

Try these fun party activities for kids (and adults) of all ages:
  1. Frisbee toss
  2. Volleyball
  3. Water balloons
  4. Hula Hoops
  5. Scavenger Hunt
Really, with planning a backyard party, the possibilities are endless for the amount of fun you could have.

Thanks for reading. Until next time...Keep it "REAL"

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Get Your Home Ready for Summer

It is hard to spring into action and complete maintenance work during April showers. But, by going through your checklist, come summer, you can sit back, relax and even enjoy a hot dog from the barbeque. See below to give your home a smooth transition with the change of seasons.

1. Wash Your Home's Exterior
Depending on the siding you have, pressure washing can do harm. In most cases, a garden hose and a cleaning wand attachment is all you need. Remember to tarp your plants and shrubs!

2. Clean Your Deck or Patio
After cleaning a wooden deck, remember to treat the wood, stain and seal it once all is dry. You can freshen up most patio furniture with an all purpose cleaner. On furniture cushions, you can use soap, water and a soft bristle brush.

3. Tend the Garden
Lay down mulch to protect your plants from a drought, boost their growth and give a finished look to you yard.

4. Air Out Your Home's Interior
Open all the windows and run the air conditioning on low to get rid of any winter mustiness.

5. Swap Out Wintery Decor
Swap out your dark linens for a lighter look. Make the inside of your home look and feel like it is ready for summer!

6. Add a Fresh Coat of Paint
Notice any chipping or peeling exterior paint? Consider a touch-up. If you hire a professional, you'll want the work done in the spring so it's ready by mid-summer.

There you have it. A few simple, easy tasks to get your home ready for summer. If you think you may need help with a few of these, let me know. I will be able to refer someone for you.

Thanks for reading. Until next time... Keep It "REAL"

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Moving Out Through A Divorce

Today's post is one that seems to be all too common today. I will be talking about moving when you're going through a divorce.

Moving on a good day can be a hard and stressful process. Moving when going through divorce; well, that's adds emotions to the mix. For some, separating comes with many memories. Some are beautiful and some, not so much. Either way, packing up what was once your life with your partner can be emotional. Be gentle with yourself, it won't be easy.

I have put together some tips to help make the move a little easier and smoother during this time.

See A Lawyer
Make sure you know your legal rights. Go see a lawyer and make sure you know who gets what before you begin packing everything up.

Plan ahead
If you still need to divide up belongings in the home, keep your things separate from your partners. Label your things with stickers or post-it notes. Book movers or friends to help with your move. Book a storage unit if need be and call your utility companies and change your information. This way, everything will finished and you won't need to worry about them on moving day. Next, stop by the post office and have your mail forwarded to your new place.

Don’t do it alone
There is no need to do it all on your own. Call a close friend or a reliable neighbour to help you not only with the move, but if you need a shoulder to lean on.

Selling Your Home?
If you are selling your home, do everything you can to get the best possible price. Research the best real estate professional that suits you. One who may also be a professional stager to help with this process. You want to make sure you are on the right track before you allow potential buyers into your home.

Stay Organized
Put things aside you may need sooner rather than later once you move. Collect school and medical records, house information, and insurance paperwork. Put them in a manila envelope and put them in a box with other essentials you will need. For example, phone charger, medications, toiletries, an extra set of clothes. In another box, pack up cleaning supplies, toilet paper, garbage bags, light bulbs, and tools. Some dish soap, paper town, rags, and paper plates and plastic utensils. Most people don't get everything unpacked on the first day. This way you will have things to eat with, clean with and a fresh change of clothes.

Be Frugal
Packing material can be costly. If you are trying to save money use reliable garbage bags to pack clothes, bedding, towels. Visit your local grocery store and ask if they have any extra boxes you can have. Use those to pack up food items and cleaning supplies. You can also use laundry baskets to move items from your old home to your new one. Wrap glassware/dishes in towels and bedding so they don't get broken in transit.

Keep It Simple
For clothing, leave anything in your closet on hangers. Quick and easy way to move clothing is to organize items. Dresses in one pile, shirts in another...you get the idea. Secure the hangers together and put a hole in the bottom of a garbage bag. Put the bag over the hangers, and voila, you have your own makeshift garment bag.

Label Boxes
Once you decide what is going with you and what isn't. Label your boxes. It is easier to pack per room and label the box as you go. This way when you go to unpack, you know all your items from your bedroom, are in the labeled box "Bedroom".

Moving Day Plan
Have a plan for moving day. Make sure anyone who is helping you move knows what time to meet and where. If you have a few people helping, delegate jobs.
Once you're at your new home, plan to bring the larger furniture first. Place those items where they will more than like stay. Couch, beds, dressers...those kinds of things. If you get the big items out of the way, you won't be tripping over things throughout the day trying to organize.

Home Sweet Home
Make your new home your own. Fill it with things you love that you didn't have in your previous home. It will be more comfortable and easier to help you move on.

Thanks for reading. Until next time... Keep It "REAL"

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

De-Personalizing is NOT Personal

Depersonalizing your home is one of the most important steps in the home staging process.

When home buyers enter a home they're interested in, they look for neutralization. They do not want to see your personal touches. Depersonalizing is as simple as this - removing your personal taste from your home. This allows the potential buyers to visualize themselves in the space.

So don't take offense when your real estate agent tells you to "get rid" of all your personal things. Knick-knacks, photos, collectables in your home, they are all things that show who YOU are. And you're not "getting rid" of them, remember, you are taking them with you. You are selling your house, not your things.

How you have decorated your home is important to YOU. It is YOUR style. The country look with the barn board wall, the rustic stars on the walls and the knitted throw across the chair. That is who YOU are! Some buyers may not be able to see past that. Your goal when "depersonalizing" is to make them feel like your home could one day become theirs.

So, don't take depersonalizing, personal...it isn't about you, your style and who you are. It is simply about selling your home. Pack up those collectables and let's sell your house!

Thanks for reading. Until next time - Keep it "REAL"