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Local greenhouses are a great place to pick up Fall Decor items for your home

It’s Autumn in Southwestern Ontario. Leaves are beginning to change colour. Apples are hanging heavy on trees. Pumpkins are scattered in farmer’s fields wherever you look. All of these fall elements can be seen in more than farmer’s markets though. Homes are decorated with dried corn stalks, hay bales and tumbles of colourful gourds to welcome in the crisp season. Businesses sport seasonal wreathes and planters at their doors. And many restaurants take advantage of the bounty from the fields, tempting patrons with mouth-watering dishes made from fresh, local finds.


The smell of warm mulled apple cider makes a home irresistible during an open house

Who am I to resist? Especially when I always have an eye to presenting a home in its best possible light. Autumn has so many pleasing options when it comes to staging a home for sale, whether it be light and airy grasses waving from a planter at your door, or the delicious smell of autumn in the presentation of steaming apple cider at an open house. And if you were wondering, Fall is just as good a time to sell your house as any other.


Fall colours are a wonderful addition to any home’s palette

In fact, many people list their homes for sale in the Fall. As noted, during a long Indian Summer, such as the one we are experiencing now, homes often look their best. As long as you can keep up with your Fall maintenance (think raked leaves, gardens ready for bed, and no hot or cold days to frighten a potential home buyer away), you will find that your home takes on a whole new look in the Autumn. Plus, if your curb appeal is at its best, then you just might find that you have more potential for a sale with fewer houses on the market, as compared to the busier Spring market. Don’t worry though, as folks that have gone on vacation in the summer will be home again to start house hunting, before getting ready for Christmas vacations (and another slow down in the real estate market).

So if you think that you have to wait until the Spring to sell your home, think again. Now is the perfect time to sell your house! Make sure to point out any of the upgrades that you have done to your home (you should be doing your Fall maintenance regardless, but it helps boost your home’s appeal when it is on the market). And if you are exhausted at the end of the day with all the work it takes to keep up a sparkly home when it is for sale, do yourself a favour and schedule a few more crock pot meals into the rotation, like this seasonal one from And if you get a last-minute visitor that has to see your home tonight, all you have to do is turn down the slow cooker and let them savour the scent of your seasonal dinner that will be ready whenever you get home again.



  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups cubed fresh pumpkin
  • 1 (15 ounce) can chili beans
  • 1 (15 ounce) can seasoned black beans
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder


  1. Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat; brown turkey, stirring often, until crumbly and no longer, pink, about 10 minutes. Drain and discard any fat.
  2. Transfer turkey to a slow cooker and stir in diced tomatoes, pumpkin, chili beans, black beans, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and chili powder. Set cooker to Low, cover, and cook until pumpkin is tender and has started to break apart, at least 3 hours.

Have you ever wondered what some of the real estate descriptions truly mean when you read a real estate listing? While some descriptions are straight forward, like “3 bedrooms” or “”1 bath, what does “unspoiled” mean? How about “classic”? When you are searching for that perfect home, it can be hard to know what a house might have to offer from the few short sentences and 1″ square picture that is your first impression. If you really want to know, call me and we can discuss real estate whenever you want. If you want to do a little homework first, here’s my coles notes on a few real estate terms unmasked.


    Fixer Upper

    Fixer Upper (Photo credit: kcnickerson)

  • Needs some TLC – Watch out unless you are a ready for a lot of work. While you might think tender loving care comes in the form of paint, more often than not, TLC stands for “tonnes of labour to come“. Beware the fixer upper!
  • On the edge of… – While the surrounding neighbourhood might have a draw, the one this house is situated in isn’t quite there. It might be cheaper, but there might be a reason for that. Sometimes location is everything.
  • English: Starter home? One-up, one down, no ma...

    English: Starter home?

  • Starter home – We all have to start somewhere, but usually that means smaller and with less bells and whistles. Don’t expect an executive master or custom kitchen here. The “basics” are what you get when you are starting out folks.
  • Move-in ready – Hope you like the paint scheme, because the present owners just painted. Some upgrades might have been done recently, so no big projects are glaringly obvious to the potential buyer.
  • Cute – Much as babies and puppies are cute when they are small, so too does a house look cute when it is compact. Your square footage probably won’t be through the roof on a “cute”, but small house.
  • Nice sized – You won’t find measurements as small as in your last “cute” house, but a nice-sized room often isn’t overly large. You’ll be able to fit in the basics to a nice-sized home, but there won’t be tonnes of room left over.
  • Larger than it looks! – At first glance, again this home might not break the bank on exterior measurements, but layout has probably been optimized to maximize what square footage there is.
  • Basement potential

  • Basement potential – In a word; unfinished. The nice thing though is that most times the height of the basement ceiling should be high enough to potentially finish the space to create livable space with a little work.
  • Unspoiled – Similar to the above entry, “unspoiled” means that the described item is original to the house. No work has been done to it either properly or to mar the historical aspect of it. Mold this “unspoiled” item to your own designs!
  • Classic – Anything that is “classic”, usually also translates to it being old. Whether it is a classic neighbourhood with older homes dating back a century or more, or classic features, like crown mold or wide base boards, you can bet that you won’t be finding these classic features on a newly built model.

What are you looking for in a house?

Every week I try to come up with great things to see and do in London, Ontario. It’s my hometown and I am proud to promote everything about it. There is always great theatre to watch (like Laughter on the 23rd Floor at the Palace Theatre), sporting events to attend (like taking in a London Knights game at Budweiser Gardens), or just plain fun to be had at places like Storybook Gardens, Adventures on Wonderland or Fanshawe Pioneer Village. We have art, history, adventure and nature, all available at our fingertips.

The trick is you have to be here to experience it.

If you live just up the road is someplace like Chatham or Kitchener, you are in luck as it is only an hour drive to enjoy everything on offer. If you expand your drive, we are only two hours from Detroit or Toronto. that’s not far at all! In fact, in my books, doesn’t that equal the centre of the Universe? Hmm, indeed…

Step through your gate into Westminster Ponds

Step through your gate into Westminster Ponds

Wouldn’t you like to be a little closer though? Sure you would! How about having a beautiful forest literally in your backyard! I can hear you thinking, “Now you’re talking!”

Check out your very own personal passage into the Westminster Ponds. Did you know there are approximately 200 hectares to explore in this conservation area that is home to birds, fish, insects, beavers, coyotes and even white-tailed deer! Plus a whole lot of trees are in there producing oxygen, homes for animals and reducing pollution in the air, water and even our ears (gotta appreciate leaves!).

Have I caught your attention yet? Are you curious about what is on this side of that gate? Let me show you!

House For Sale!

House For Sale!

Enjoy this Inground pool plus Cabana

This four-level side split is the newest home to hit the London market this week. It is a 3+1 bedroom detached home with 2 baths and a gas fireplace. With a detached 1.5 car garage, the hobbyists out there will be scrambling to snap this home up. The kids will equalling be begging to make this house their new home with the addition of an inground pool in the backyard. Don’t worry about the punishing rays of the summer sun either, as this home comes complete with a cabana right off the deck as well. Nice! Plus, if you have guests coming to visit you from out-of-town, you have the convenience of being located mere minutes from the highway. Perfect!

Home is Where the Heart Is

Home is Where the Heart Is

I haven’t even mentioned the best part about this house yet; the price. With all of those perks, first-time home buyers might not think this beautiful home is in their price range, but they would be wrong. The listing price on this perfect family home is listed at the low, low price of just $219, 900.

You heard me right – $219,900! Need I say anymore? How about I let you think about all the perks that London has to offer, that nature is literally on your doorstep and that this home has something for every member of the family.

Now Call Me!

I’ll be waiting to hear from you to take you on a personal tour of this super house for sale in London, Ontario, this weekend!

The interest rates are low. The housing market is humming. Now is the time to enter the real estate game, if you have been thinking about it at all. Start by talking to your bank representative or broker to see if you can get pre-approved for that all-important mortgage (unless of course you’ve got a mittful of cash to spend, then call ME!). That will let you know how much you can afford to buy and where to set the bar while house hunting.

The next step is to find a real estate agent. There are plenty out there, but finding the right agent can sometimes be tricky. Make sure that you are on the same page, as far as what you are looking for and don’t forget to ask for references.

Now, get out there and start looking for your dream home!

Before you fall hopelessly in love with a home though, keep an eye on some of the lesser qualities of the houses that you walk through. While you might be able to look past an ugly wallpaper or a cluttered kitchen counter, what might these minor flaws represent in the overall scheme of things? Does the wallpaper cover up cracks in the walls that might represent the foundation shifting? Is a cluttered counter indicative of a lack of storage space in the kitchen or the house as a whole? What else should you be looking out for?


    1. Outdated electrical
    2. Leaky roof
    3. Lack of insulation
    4. Poor lighting
    5. Dated kitchen, bathroom or other decor
    6. Lack of storage
    7. Bug infestation
    8. Bad neighbourhood
    9. Lack of curb appeal
    10. Over-priced

This list is far from conclusive, but it is a start on what to look out for while house hunting. It also gives you an idea of what to avoid or factor into the overall cost of purchasing a new home for yourself. I would also counsel you to inspect the age and quality of the heating unit in the home, as well as water heater and a/c unit (if present). Canada is a great place to live, but we definitely have our extremes in weather variations, so you want a reliable furnace in winter and cooling device in summer.

Fully renovated House For Sale!

And to leave you with an example of a house that fits all of those categories to a tee, here we have 509 Charlotte St, otherwise known as my first FOLLOW THE FLIP! This charming bungalow hit the MLS Listings this week and is yours for the taking! Looking at the list above, I can assure you that;

  1. The knob & tube wiring is long gone
  2. A new roof protects you from any leaks
  3. New Insulation was blown in last fall
  4. Big new windows are located all over this house & it has updated light fixtures
  5. Fresh paint throughout, including the brand new kitchen & bath
  6. Unfinished basement holds lots of space for storage, as well as room in the backyard for a shed/shop/garage
  7. No bugs here!
  8. New playground right across the street at the community centre
  9. Curb appeal oozes from the new siding, mini paver driveway & refurbished stained glass above the new front door
  10. Priced to sell at $189, 900! Wow!

Come see for yourself and make London, Ontario home!

Looking for that perfect new home can be an exciting time, but it can also be a lot of work. Before you head out to hit a handful of open houses or follow your real estate agent around town, you should think about what you are looking for in a new home. Location is always key, but there are lots of other factors to keep in mind before you even step over the threshold of a house. So today I offer you a few tips on what to keep in mind when you are house hunting;


  1. Look beyond the picture: While real estate agents usually suggest people depersonalize a home before putting it on the market, some folks just can’t bear to part with their family portraits. The challenge then is for you to see beyond the photos and picture yourself living in this house and making it a home of your own. Remember though that on moving day,  your new home will be a blank canvas for you to fill with your own memories.
  2. Put on your rose-coloured glasses: Or green, blue or gray goggles when looking at a home’s decor. Wall colour might make you cringe when you are poking around in a house that is for sale, but its a relatively easy and cheap thing to change.  Just because the bathroom is magenta, doesn’t mean you  have to live with that forever if you buy the house. Trendy colours change seasonally, so this is the perfect time to decorate the house of your dreams with your own colour palette.
  3. Count your blessings: And the number of bedrooms and bathrooms in the house. Be realistic about your needs and start by looking at homes that fit your requirements. If you can’t live without two bathrooms, then only look at homes that have at least two of them already. Same thing goes for bedrooms. If you are a family of three, then perhaps six bedrooms is a bit overkill. Major home renovations can be costly and unless you are willing and able to undertake them, save yourself the hassle of even considering it.
  4. Get down to the nitty-gritty: You have needs and one of them will be storage. While you are poking around bedrooms, bathrooms and the basement, check for it. Does the home have sufficient linen closets, bedroom closets and general storage for all of your stuff? Where are you going to put the hockey equipment, Christmas decorations and towels for the guest bedroom? These factors can sometimes be overlooked in the excitement of viewing houses, but you will be glad that you checked beforehand on moving day.
  5. Shine a light on: Because in the depths of winter you will really notice how bright or dreary the lighting in a house truly is. Does the house have large or small windows? Does it have any southern exposure? Are there overhead lights or will you have to buy a small army of lamps to illuminate the corners of the home? Some of these factors can be accommodated for, but if your collection of precious cacti require high lighting to survive, you better think about what they will have on offer if you make the house your home. Perhaps that perfect house would be suited for the vampires down the road instead.
  6. Touch wood: Or is it more like mop linoleum? What are you willing to live with, or not live without, as far as flooring goes? Carpet warms a floor, but isn’t always best for furry animals that shed or those with allergies. Linoleum can get dated and dirty in a hurry. Is there money in your budget to refinish wood floors  that have seen better days? My suggestion is to inspect every house from top to bottom and weigh its pros and cons before committing to anything.
  7. From earth to sky: And everything in between; you need to poke into it all. Check the roof and figure out when it was replaced last, with an eye to your budget if the shingles seem a little worn. Head to the basement and knock on the furnace. Furnace replacement can be a pricey endeavour, but can improve overall heating and cooling costs for operating a home. While you are at it, check on the hot water heater, humidifier, as well as the air conditioner unit, if the house has one. You can even get an idea as to the insulation of a home by feeling the temperature of the walls or quickly peering behind an exterior switch plate to see what that reveals (hopefully lots of R20 value).

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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The Royal LePage Award of Excellence

2010 Royal LePage Award of Excellence

Winner of the 2010 Award of Excellence

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2010 Winner of Royal LePage's Director's Platinum Award

Winner of the 2010 Director's Platinum Award

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