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The real estate market doesn’t sleep. Sometimes the market can be sluggish, but there will always be people looking for a new home. Summertime is no different. In fact, the summer is a great time to put your house on the market, as people often want to move before the new school year begins. If you are looking to list your home this summer, think about ways to make it top-notch for your potential buyer. With a little extra work, you will be well on your way to a SOLD sign in your yard this summer.


  1. Declutter – Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer; a clutter free home allows people to see what is on offer. Garage sale season is upon us, so go ahead and purge whatever doesn’t work in your space anymore. Space sells, so make the most of it. A clutter-free house is always more appealing.
  2. Put away area rugs & let the hardwood shine – If you have hardwood or even nice looking laminate or tiles, summertime is when you want to show it off. A clean, cool floor will look fresh and appeal to the clutter-free appearance of your home
  3. Open the windows and let the fresh air in – Heavy drapes help to keep in the heat in the winter, but come summertime, you want to lighten up everything in your home. Ditch the drapes for airy shears that let in the light and a fresh cool breeze. Don’t forget to clean the panes while you are at it!
  4. Lighten up your linens – Say goodbye to the duvet and heavy fleece. Replace your bedding with crisp cotton sheets and a nice light bedspread in bright and pleasing patterns. 
  5. Green up your garden – Annuals planted in your garden give that instant bit of colour that everyone loves, plus they last all summer long. 
  6. Place fresh flowers around the house – They are blooming outside, so why not bring some in. Think fresh flowers in the kitchen, living room, bath, and your bedside table. It will look inviting and add a fresh scent to your home. 
  7. Pleasing planters – I know you have slaved over your garden beds, but a decorative planter beside the front door will add that extra touch of welcome to potential home buyers before they even step in the door.  
  8. Take the indoors out – Add square footage to your property by creating an inviting living area outside. Think about placing a bench in the garden, an outdoor sofa near the barbeque and tables nearby to finish your summer living room by the pool. 
  9. Maintain your grounds – Just because you are headed out of town for vacation or busy with summertime fun, doesn’t give you an excuse to neglect your grounds. Install a sprinkler system. Hire a landscaping company to cut the grass and weed the gardens. Give the kid down the street a couple of bucks to add decorative mulch to your beds. Just make sure the outside is as presentable as the in.
  10. Light up your yard– Now that you have beautified the outside, why not illuminate it too! Since people often visit in the evenings, make sure that they can still appreciate all the your home and garden has to offer, by tucking in some spotlights, adding lighting along pathways and the driveway. Its summertime, so lighten up!

With Spring having officially sprung last week, the season of “Spring Cleaning” begins. It’s time to wash windows, clear clutter and store winter wear for the season. I think it is safe to hang your snow shovel up and perhaps eyeball the lawn mower to see if it requires any maintenance, before you press it into service again for the summer.

Yes, as the sun returns, so too does our energy level and with it a will to brighten your home and lighten your load. Can I make a suggestion on how to achieve that? It might feel a bit early, but why not start looking through the basement, garage and playroom with the idea of a garage sale to purge your excess belongings that you just don’t need anymore? I bet if you were really honest with yourself, you would agree that you don’t really need to keep that old microwave, second set of wrenches or extra copy of “The Handyman’s DIY Bible” that you got for Christmas three years ago. If the spine hasn’t been cracked, perhaps it is time to let it go.

What else can you get rid of? Here are a few suggestions to get you started on clearing your home and in turn cleansing your mind for a fresh start on a new season and new life.

THE GARAGE SALE: A List of Items to Purge

    • extra table clothes
    • old linens & towels (keep one or two to use as rags)
    • kitchen appliances that you don’t use (ex. the ricer that is still in its original packaging)
    • mismatched plates, glasses and/or wine goblets

Get rid of old, worn, chipped or broken kitchen items

    • worn, chipped or broken kitchen utensils
    • books that won’t be read again (FYI Danielle Steel will be snapped up from any yard sale box)
    • trinkets that no longer have a home and are just collecting dust
    • items that are still packed in boxes from your last move 5 years ago

      Time to purge the wardrobe!

    • clothes that haven’t been worn in over a year (ditch those pants you have been saving from the 80s that will NEVER fit you again)
    • toys that your children no longer play with or have outgrown
    • puzzles & games that are missing pieces (well, maybe they should just go in the garbage bin, but get them out of your house!)
    • CDs, DVDs, records, VHS movies that you no longer watch or listen to
    • furniture that no longer has a space in your home
    • items that you have fallen out of love with (those cute his & hers towels you bought with your ex)

Do you really have a home for this?

  • well-meant gifts from others that will never go with your home decor
  • excess garden items (someone might need/want/kill to have your mile-high stack of garden pots )
  • divisions from over-grown plants (I can almost guarantee that someone will just die and go to heaven after spying your excess hostas, irises and/or ornamental grasses)
  • out-of-season items that you have since replaced (a poke through your Xmas box might net you a tidy sum. Doesn’t everyone love Christmas all year long?)
  • anything else that you haven’t seen, touched or missed in over a year


And just remember that for every item you purge, you regain another piece of your home. You will truly appreciate the extra space and peace of mind that you gain by shedding items that no longer receive the love that they deserve. You might find a few extra dollars in your pocket, which you can even put towards a few new purchases if you so desire, but don’t overdo it.

One last rule for garage sale decluttering: Whatever goes out to the curb, does NOT re-enter the house!

Happy Valentine’s Day! 

Today is the day that lovers stare deep into each other’s eyes and are transported to another dimension. If they are lucky enough, all that googly eyeing can even lead to another room, hopefully the bedroom. With lust in a lover’s heart, the door is kicked open, only to find…

A Messy Bedroom! (*Image from

And romance screeches to a halt!

Now that is no way to create a warm and inviting bedroom retreat for lovers, or anyone else for that matter. If you want love to sizzle in the bedroom, then perhaps you should put a little effort into its appearance before stepping in the door.



  • If you want to invite someone into your bedroom this Valentine’s Day, why not start with a little decluttering first. You wouldn’t show your house to strangers all cluttered with old magazines, dirty piles of laundry or mystery unmentionables, so why expect that a lover or even YOU should want to escape into a bedroom that has forgotten what its floor is made of. Toss the garbage. Put away the laundry and organize those unmentionables. Decluttering is always the first step in making any space inviting and your bedroom is no different.
  • Turn the lights down low for that romantic feel. You can do that by installing a dimmer switch to create an ambience  that oozes passion. Lighting candles always ups the romance factor, but so too would a chandelier over the bed. Don’t forget about the harsh light of morning after a late night of loving. Investing in blackout curtains could mean a few more minutes or hours of cuddling the next morning.
  • When we think of passion, it is always hot, hot, hot, but not if the floor feels like ice! Short of ripping up the flooring to install ambient heat, there are other ways to keep the warmth alive in your bedroom. A thick underpad underneath a deep carpet adds a touch of luxury that anyone can appreciate. If carpeting isn’t in the budget, then look at what an area rug can do for you. You would be amazed at the perks of a posh rug on your aching toes and how that just might make the rest of you come alive too!
  • While you can appreciate a luxurious floor, what do your walls add to your bedroom? Your bedroom is your retreat and you should colour it like that. If you are looking for passion between the sheets, red on the walls might just add some oomph to your love life. If you want a calming retreat to escape to for some much-needed sleep though, then perhaps calming blues, greens or lavender will suit you better. A bolder coloured accent wall can serve as the perfect place for your headboard. A lighter shade from the walls on the ceiling can create a cozier niche to rest your head. Most importantly though, a fresh coat of paint will make you feel more like stepping into your bedroom retreat at the end of the day.
  • If you have made it in the door, adjusted your lighting for love and are ready to slip between the sheets, Stop! What shape are your sheets in? If you want to feel like a king or queen, your bedding can be an important step. Thread-count might mean little to you on the packaging, but when you slide between the sheet, you will feel the difference that decent linens make. The higher the thread count, the denser and softer the sheets feel. They also last that much longer, so do yourself a favour and  invest in yourself and your sleep. A few extra pillows, a warm duvet, plus silk, flannel or down can make all the difference when creating that inviting haven in your bedroom. You are worth it!

And now the rest is up to you. Here’s hoping that your bedroom heats up this Valentine’s Day!

So you are looking to sell your house? Well, you have come to the right place! Allow me to introduce myself. The name’s Jim!

Before we put the sign in the yard though, have you looked at your house recently? I mean really looked at it with fresh eyes. Because once the ‘For Sale’ sign hits the front lawn, you will (hopefully) have all kinds of people checking out your home with an eye on making it theirs. There are a few things that you can do to help them see the charm in your castle and improve the chances of speeding up that sale. Without further ado;





You might love your collection of salt and pepper shakers that you have collected from all over the world, and display them proudly, but odds are that a potential home buyer will not. If you have pictures and nic nacs covering every square inch of your home, the only thing that people will see is mess. They do not have the emotional attachment that you might carry, therefore will just see the myriad of articles that cover your house as merely clutter. Even worse, they will have a hard time picturing themselves living in the house, which equates to a lost sale for you. Your best bet, if you truly want to sell your home, is to pack up all your chotchkies, trinkets and do-dads, until your are in your ‘new’ home. Then you are free to decorate as you fit once again, without jeopardizing the sale of your home.



You might think that cleaning your house is an obvious suggestion, but you would be amazed at the number of homes that I walk into that have cobwebs in the stairwells and little doggie footprints on the back door. Do yourself a favour and get down and dirty before the people start crossing your threshold. If you don’t want to do it yourself, hire a professional to give your home a deep cleaning. A clean house might not be the clincher for the sale, but a dirty house will have your potential home buyer wondering what else you couldn’t be bothered to keep up with. Cobwebs are cute on Halloween, but please sweep them down for the Open House! Don’t forget to wipe the baseboards either!



If you have swept your hearth, but are wondering what else might snag a sale, then look around you. What colour is your house? Don’t tell me that magenta is the colour of the year, because I have to tell you that it probably won’t sell your home. You might have a personality that screams cyan, but if the people who are walking in the door hate blue, they might not be able to see beyond your beautiful boudoir that you worked so hard to decorate. Your best bet is to neutralize, in order to appeal to the widest audience possible. If beige will just about kill you, then perhaps some vibrant flowers will bring the colour therapy that you crave until your house sells and you can move on to your next home. While you are at it, you might want to look at your flooring as well. Roll up the multi-coloured rag rugs and replace them with muted carpets, or leave them to their natural settings, if you have beautiful wood floors to show off. You want to showcase the house and its bare bones, for the new owners to create their own masterpiece with.



You might think that I have covered this already, but you need to clean your home up a little more. Remember that you are trying to convince someone that they want to buy this house in order to make it a home of their own. That means that you should probably take down the family mural wall and pack away the trophy case for now. Your African mask display might be your pride and joy, but it might also make your home memorable only as the ‘African House’, as over-stimulated home buyers retreat back to neutral ground. Display a  simple piece of artwork, place a bouquet of flowers on the table and throw one or two coffee table books or magazines on the credenza. Let people’s imagination do their work for them picturing themselves living in the space the way they want to.


Make it Feel Like Home:

And last but not least, now that you have cleaned, neutralized, decluttered and depersonalized, try to make your house feel homey. Yes, I realize that you might have felt it was plenty homey before, but you want your home to be attractive to a wide range of people. Try lighting a fire and place wine glasses on a tray in front of it. Play some mellow jazz on the stereo. You could even try placing a kettle on the back of the stove with pot pourri simmering in it to make your home smell fresh and inviting. And don’t forget to fill your fruit bowl with fresh, delicious looking fruit, as well as some fragrant flowers in a vase. You want your home to be as inviting as possible, so that potential home owners will fall in love and want to move in as soon as possible.


Welcome to In Your Neighbourhood!

Allow me to introduce myself. The name is Jim. You want to know more? Well, check out my "About Me" page! Don't forget to take a peek at my "Local London Listings" while you are here too! I update it regularly. Enjoy your visit and drop me a line to let me know you were in the neighbourhood!

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