You’ve heard of the term “curb appeal”. It refers to the initial impression buyers get when they first see your property from the street. If the impression is a good one, it sets the right tone for the rest of the home viewing. How do you boost curb appeal? Here are some proven ideas that you can get done in an hour or so:

 

• Wash both the inside and outside of the front windows. You’ll be amazed at the difference that can make.

• Sweep the walkway leading up to the front entrance. Add a new welcome mat. Also, wash down the front door.

• If possible, remove cars from the driveway. Let buyers imagine their own cars parked there!

• Mow the lawn. Lightly trim the hedges. Weed flower beds.

• Remove anything from inside window sills that may look unsightly from the outside. Try putting a couple of flowering plants there instead.

• Place any trash bins out-of-sight. For example, put them in the garage or neatly at the side of the house.

• If the entrance door hardware is old and worn, change it. New hardware can make a bigger difference than you might think.

• Make sure the outdoor lights are working, especially if you’re showing your home in the evening.

• Add some flowering plants to flower beds, or buy a couple of portable potted plants and place them strategically.

• Clean your mailbox. If it’s rusted, replace it.

• If you have a power washer, give the walkway and driveway a quick blast. Just be sure it will be dry before the buyers arrive.

These one-hour improvements may seem minor, but anything that helps buyers form a more positive first impression.

If it’s been a while since you last moved, you might be wondering how much you’ll need to spend on your next home. That’s an important question to answer, even if you’re just at the “thinking about it” stage and haven’t decided whether or not you’ll look for a new property.

After all, knowing your budget might influence your decision.

How should you determine your budget?

The first step is to calculate the maximum you can spend. This involves adding the money you’ll get from the sale of your current property after repaying your outstanding mortgage, to any other funds you have available to invest plus the maximum amount of mortgage you qualify to receive.

Of course, just because you may qualify for a large mortgage doesn’t mean you want those bigger payments. So, the second step is to think about your needs. What features are a must in your next home? For example, you might want four bedrooms and anything less would be a deal-breaker.

Make a “must-have list”. That list can by used to find a baseline of properties on the market — and then find their average asking price. This will give you an idea of what it would cost to find a home that meets your must-have list.

The third step is to go beyond needs and consider the features you want. These might not be deal-breakers, but you’d sure love to have them in your next home. They could be a large deck, a location in a desirable neighbourhood, a big country kitchen, etc.

Ask yourself how much you would be willing to pay for those desirable features. $20,000? $50,000?

Once you’ve gone through these steps, you’ll have the information you need to match your needs and wants to what’s available on the market — and you’ll know how much you might expect to pay for your next home.

When you sell, you’ll probably want to get the best possible price for your property. Who wouldn’t? Unfortunately, there are many ways to inadvertently leave money on the table – sometimes thousands of dollars.

How do you avoid that possibility?

  • Prep. Do everything you can to prepare your home so that it looks great to buyers. Clean, declutter, fix, make improvements. Home staging can also help. In fact, effectively staged homes have been shown to sell for up to 5% more than comparable unstaged properties.

 

  • Price. Set the right asking price. That’s crucial. If it’s too low, you’ll attract only dealhunters — and you might end up getting less than you should . If the asking price is too high, however, you’ll discourage those buyers who might otherwise be interested and willing to make a good offer. Be careful with pricing!

 

  • Promotion. There may be qualified buyers out there who would be eager to see your property. But, they need to find out about your listing and the great features of your home first! Reaching these buyers requires more than merely profiling the listing on the MLS. Homes that sell for top dollar often have strong marketing — directed to the right buyers.

 

  • Proposal. Once an offer comes in, there may be an opportunity to negotiate with the buyer to maximize the final price you get. This requires deep knowledge of the local market as well as street-smart negotiation skills. If done effectively, these negotiations can help put more money in your pocket.

There are many good reasons to put your property on the market. Some examples include a relocation, the kids leaving the nest, the need for something bigger or smaller, and the list goes on and on.

 

However, there are also some less-than-obvious indicators that it may be time to sell:

 

  1. Your Property is no longer a Good “Fit”

 

Your home may have been perfect for you when you bought it. But things change. Families grow. Needs evolve. For any number of reasons, your property may no longer be a good fit for you. If that’s the case, it makes sense to at least take a look at what’s available on the market. Who knows? Your next “perfect” home may be for sale right now — within your price range!

 

  1. The Neighbourhood is Changing

 

You may have been in love with the neighbourhood when you first moved in. But, over time, the characteristics of any area can change. Those changes don’t necessarily mean the neighbourhood is getting worse. In fact, it may be changing in a positive way; perhaps becoming more urban. But, “more urban” may not be what you want. Take a look at the direction your neighbourhood is heading. Ask yourself, “Do I still want to be living here in two years?”

  1. You’re Ready for Your Dream Home

 

Remember when you purchased your current property? Did it have every feature you wanted? Was it your dream home? Or, did you have to compromise on a few things, such as the size of the kitchen? If you had to make some tough choices back then, it might be time for you to finally get the home of your dreams.

 

It’s important to ensure a community has the characteristics you want — before you make an offer on a home you like.

Imagine you were counting on public transit being in easy walking distance, but discovered the nearest stop is four blocks away. It can be discouraging to come across the areas your neighborhood may be lacking after you’ve already purchased a home.

Here are some elements to consider when choosing the perfect community:

  1. Do you have children or are you planning to have children soon?

Research the schools in that area, be sure the building and location inspire confidence when you think of sending your children off for the day. Even if you don’t plan on having children, living in an area with a sought-after school system raises your property value.

 

  1. What type of home do you want?

 

Are you interested in a single-family home or a condo? Do some research on the pros and cons of the different types of homes. Historic neighborhoods have tons of character homes, but often require some repair work. Newer developments have more modern features, but are typically farther from the city center.

 

  1. How far are you willing to commute?

 

Do you plan to drive, walk or take transit to work? Does the community have a good transit system? How challenging is it to navigate traffic in the mornings? All of these factors should be considered when making the decision to move. A projected 15 minute morning commute can easily be doubled with traffic.

 

  1. What is your current community lacking?

 

If you’re currently landlocked, but have always wanted to live on the waterfront, put that at the top of your list. If you’re a coffee junkie, having a café within walking distance may be a dream come true.

 

  1. Do you want to be able to go places on foot?

 

Some neighborhoods feature great proximity to restaurants, shopping and recreation. Others are car dependant and require a reliable source of transportation.

 

 

  1. Is there nearby parks and recreation?

 

Most communities within the Vernon area feature ample parks, trails and community centres. Do some research to investigate which may appeal most to you. An avid skier might prefer a neighborhood at the base of the mountain versus a lake front community. Some areas have more playgrounds and family friendly outdoor pools.

 

  1. Sounds:

 

Bird and nature sounds are generally pleasant, but highway noise, airport traffic, hospital sirens and trains passing may be too disruptive for everyday life.

 

Once you’ve done the background research, it’s important to visit neighborhoods that made the preliminary grade in person. If you would like a tour of a potential neighborhood and more in-depth insights into a potential neighborhood, I have plenty of knowledge of Vernon and surrounding communities. Give me a call today.

 

The Vernon Winter Carnival – February 1st –10th
Vernon

The Vernon Winter Carnival is the largest winter festival in Canada and has been a tradition in the North Okanagan since 1960.The event kicks off January 31 with a Hot Air Balloon Festival, and is followed by a jam-packed schedule of events sure to please everyone!

FEB 1 – 2019 BC Snow Sculpture Competition @ Silver Star Mountain Resort

FEB 2 – 59th Annual Winter Carnival Parade

FEB 2 – Tips up Cup Challenge @ Sovereign Lake Nordic Club

FEB 2 – Celebration of Talent

FEB 5 – Pinot & Paint @ Vernon Public Art Gallery

FEB 6 – The BeerCanBeiner @ Sovereign Lake Nordic Club

FEB 7 – Jopohouse Luncheon – Dueling Pianos @ Prestige Vernon Lodge

FEB 7 – UnWined

FEB 8 – Jopohouse Luncheon – The Soul Men @ Prestige Vernon Lodge

FEB 9 – Family Day @ Polson Park

FEB 9 – 10th Anniversary Blues Dance Party @ Five Knuckle Shuffle

FEB 9 – Parka Party @ Predator Ridge Resort

FEB 10 – Toonie and a Tine @ Kal Tire Place

FEB 10 – Polar Bear Swim @ Kalamalka Lake

FEBR 10 – Guided Snowshoe Tour @ Sovereign Lake Nordic Club

Check out this link for the whole program. 

The Snowed In Comedy Tour at The Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre – February2nd
Vernon

Featuring four top international comedians, Debra DiGiovanni, Pete Zedlacher, Dan Quinnand and Paul Myrehaug. Each with their own unique take on comedy. The Snowed In Comedy Tour has turned in to a Canadian success story, having grown to become the biggest comedy tour in Canada.

Click here for additional info and tickets. 

The Complete History of Science at The Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre – February 16th  
Vernon

Monster Theatre’s We Now Know: The Complete History of Science is a one-hour rapid-fire comedy show for young audiences chronicling the history of science. It uses a variety of mediums including puppets, masks and original songs and encourages audience interaction. Explore the discoveries, inventions and innovations of human kind since the dawn of time.

Click here for additional info and tickets. 

Whether you love beautiful snowfalls and calm frozen lakes or prefer to spend the chilly months cozied up indoors with a hot drink, the Okanagan is undoubtedly one of the best places to live and vacation during the winter season. This region offers mild winter temperatures, plenty of snow and some beautiful sunshine. It’s perfect if you like to participate in traditional winter activities. There’s downhill skiing at Silver Star Mountain Resort, scenic cross-country skiing and snowshoeing at Sovereign Lake and stunning mountain views on snowmobile trails spanning from Silver Star to Armstrong. There are also a few unique options for anyone looking to try something new this season.

 

Night Skiing –

There is nothing more peaceful then enjoying a calm starlit evening on an illuminated trail. The quiet surroundings make for great conversation and an enjoyable evening spent outdoors with friends and family.

Sovereign Lake, Vernon BC

 

Fat Biking –

Take in your favourite mountain biking trails all year round! Fat bikes have wide tires designed for riding in the snow. Making them a great new way to adventure on the mountains and trails. Rentals are available at Silver Star Mountain Resort & Sun Country Cycle.

 

Horse Drawn Sleigh Rides –

Take in the scenery of Silver Star’s back trails on a horse drawn sleigh. After a tour through the picturesque wilderness you’ll be taken to a rustic cabin to warm up and enjoy a hot drink and freshly baked treat or stay for a buffet dinner and dine by firelight with your loved ones.

Image courtesy of http://www.skisilverstar.com/

 

It’s a new year, a fresh start.  It’s a time of resolutions and goal setting and we are all about working to be better. So how about making a resolution to improve your home? Now we don’t mean expensive renovations and upgrades, but implementing a few small changes could bring big results in functionality and the costs associated with home ownership. We’ve put together a few of our best tips and tricks for you to put to good use in 2019.

Clean & Declutter Room by Room

The best approach for tackling the organization of your home is to pick one room to work on at a time, this allows you to really dig in without getting overwhelmed. Gather each item in the space and determine whether it’s an item you need to keep, clutter to be donated or junk destined for the trash or recycling. Once everything you’ve chosen to keep has a place, do a full deep cleaning.  This is a lot of work but so worth it to start the year with an organized and functional living space. If you get in the habit of going through each room every year this task gets easier and easier.

Use What You Have Before Buying More

This is one of the easiest ways to keep your home streamlined and clutter free. Use the last bit of everything you buy. Think finishing that bottle of shampoo, using the entire jar of BBQ seasoning, and mailing every last envelope you keep in your home office before purchasing more. This is a simple way to save space and money.

Budget for Home Improvements

Creating a yearly budget for home maintenance eliminates an immense amount of stress related to home ownership. New roofing, appliances and hot water tanks can come up every few years, creating unforeseen financial strain. A good rule of thumb is to budget 1%-3% of your home’s initial price to upkeep and improvements every year. If there’s extra savings at the end of the year you can use the remainder to pay for those new kitchen counter tops you’ve been dreaming of without it seeming like an added expense.

Implement Safety Precautions

How long has it been since you tested that Co2 detector? Now is a great time to test and, if needed, install all smoke detectors, Co2 detectors and fire extinguishers within the home. Protect your home from damage and keep your family safe in the case of an emergency.

 

Change the Way You Heat & Cool

Nearly half the energy used in homes goes towards temperature control. With a few minor adjustments, you can make a noticeable dent in energy costs.

-Utilize ceiling fans instead of air conditioners.
-Turn the thermostat down when nobody is home. Keeping the temperature just a few degrees lower can save up to 10% on heating costs while still keeping your home a comfortable temperature.
-Take advantage of your wood or pellet stove, they are much more efficient sources of heat than a furnace.
-Replace the air filters in air conditioners and heaters.

Install an On-Demand Water Heater

On-demand water heaters provide hot water on an “as needed” basis, no holding tank required. Water is heated directly with a gas burner or electric element as the water travels through a pipe to the unit, thus forgoing the tank of hot water on standby.

Switch to LED’s

Traditional incandescent lights convert only a small amount of the energy they consume into actual light, while the rest becomes heat. Switching to light-emitting diodes (LEDs) will drastically reduce energy use. LED’s use 75% less energy and last more than 10 times longer than traditional bulbs. Another bonus is they don’t contain any harmful mercury.

Utilize Efficient Shower Heads & Toilets

There are many systems available today to help you save water without even realizing it.

-Low-flow shower heads are available in different flow rates, some even have a pause button which shuts off the water flow completely while the bather lathers up.
-Toilets consume 30% to 40% of the total water used in homes, making them the biggest water users. A low- flow toilet uses just 1.6 gallons of water per flush versus a traditional toilet at 3.5 gallons. To save even more, consider a dual flush model, it lets you choose between a 1-gallon or 1.6 gallon flushes.

Cook Smarter

Cut down on energy costs and time spent in the kitchen with a few simple changes. It’s a win, win.

-Consider an oven upgrade. Convection ovens use fans to force hot air to circulate more evenly, allowing food to be cooked at a lower temperature for less time. If that’s not an option, try to stick to the top rack of your conventional oven, it’s much hotter.
-Place pans on the matching size heating element or flame.
-Use lids on pots and pans to keep heat and steam from escaping into the air.