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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 Allrecipes.ca. 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.

SLOW COOKER PUMPKIN TURKEY CHILI

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  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.

This weekend is a special one for the Royal LePage team, of which I am a member. Royal LePage started the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation 15 years ago to support women and children when they needed help the most, in times of crisis and violence in their lives. The Foundation provides a safe haven and space for broken families to heal and embark on a new beginning. We are the only Canadian real estate company that runs its own charitable organization, which supports families on a local and national level. I for one am proud to be even a small part of the team.

So what is going on this weekend? The Royal LePage Shelter Foundation is hosting a national garage sale across the country on May 11, 2013! There will be garage sales held by over 120 Royal LePage offices across the country in support of the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation. Proceeds of the sale go back to the Foundation to raise awareness on how to stop violence against women and children through prevention programs and their work in the communities in which they serve. In fact, the Foundation supports over 200 shelters and domestic violence agencies across the country, effectively helping 30,000 women and children every year.

This year is the 5th annual National Garage Sale, and the London Royal LePage Triland Realty Real Estate Brokerage is chipping in to host just one of those garage sales. The deals will be had in the parking lot of the London & St Thomas Association of Realtors at 342 Commissioners Rd W, between 8 am and 2 pm this Saturday. The proceeds from our local sale will go directly to a local shelter that has been helping women and children in distress since 1978 – the Women’s Community House.

If you go to any garage sales this season, this should be the one! There will be knick knacks, clothing, shoes, accessories, furniture, sporting goods, art work, toys, books and so much more. Plus, there will be coffee, a bake sale and kid’s activities. And of course remember that for every amazing deal that you snag, every penny of that sale goes directly to helping end domestic violence right here in our community.

What time will I see you? The coffee will be on when you get here!

 

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.

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?

In the pages of this blog, I have posted many articles,  such as how to purge and organize your home, different DIY projects for your house, plus lots of interesting places to go and events to take in all over London, Ontario. I try to produce helpful articles for the home owner, like simple dinner prep at Crock Pot Corner or what to do with duct tape. Important stuff that you need to know, right?! Some of these articles have attracted lots of attention (fireplaces were a hot topic this year) and others have sat quietly in the corner with nary a peep from social media sections (no love of ABCs and 123s apparently).

It’s all good. I am happy to report that 60 fabulous folks follow this blog and some of you even share my words of wisdom. Now that really tickles me! I urge even more of you to feel free to share any of my posts that you think have a nugget of knowledge or perhaps just tickle your fancy in some way. I don’t care if it’s on GoogleFacebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Digg or Reddit. In fact, you can go ahead and give any post of mine you want a thumbs up on StumbleUpon right now! I’d be thrilled if you did. I’ll wait until you come back to move on.

English: A look at downtown London during a wi...The reason why I bring it up is that the internet is a place to be social and share. I have visitors from all over the world, from Bermuda to Brazil, and from Gabon to Germany. While the vast majority of visitors come from closer to home, with Canada providing the #1 spot for views by country, I welcome everyone to read, think about and share the ideas put forth here. You might find that I highlight a great destination spot to visit or perhaps re-locate to, ie. London, Ontario! As I have called London home for many years, plus am now raising my own family here, I think it is a pretty special place to be. We’ve got culture, plenty of available housing and have a big-town feel in a small-city scape. Close to Toronto, Niagara Falls, Buffalo and Detroit by road, we are just as close to the world via our International airport. If I haven’t convinced you yet, just go back and re-read some of my posts tagged under London. We offer a wealth of opportunity, excitement and fun that is world-class bar none.

If you are still wondering whether you should take my word for it, let me just add that I have been in the Real Estate business for over 20 years. I am active in my community, support fundraising at the Children’s Hospital and am a member of the Marketing Division Board of Directors at the real estate board. What more do you need to know? Either go ahead and ask (I love comments and promise to respond) or stop by London, Ontario yourself and get me to take you for a tour. Who knows, perhaps if London isn’t home yet, I can convince you to stay in my neighbourhood!

 

So you have a house and you are ready to move on from it. It’s too small, too big, or just no longer what you need it to be. Time to sell.

Call me.

“But wait,” you say. “It’s in need of work!”

Well, that is only as big a problem as you make it. Just because there are a few projects on the to-do list for your home, doesn’t mean that you can’t sell it. There are many potential home buyers that are looking for a project to undertake. There are some folks that are handy and see dollar signs in faded floors or dated doors. And there are also plenty of ways to hide what you might consider your home’s flaws, but are really not that bad a characteristic. It is all about highlighting what you have to maximize your profit. And even with an issue or two, your home still has plenty of value to offer.

WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR DATED HOME FOR MARKET

Kitchen:

You might see the past as you peer at your pantry, but new drawer pulls and/or handles just might perk your kitchen back up again for a fraction of the cost of a kitchen overhaul. It is amazing the transformative power that new hardware in the kitchen can bring! Other relatively cheap improvements are adding a backsplash, painting the cupboards or simply installing a new faucet to give a brand new feel to your kitchen, without the big price tag.

 

Freshen up your bathroom with new linens

Bathroom:

Has your bathroom seen brighter days? Buy new towels, bath mat and a shower curtain to wake your tired washroom back up again. Visitors will be impressed by the little touches that you add, potentially not even seeing other more pressing items. Think about purchasing a new toilet seat. Don’t forget to re-caulk the tub for a fresh beaded line. And a pretty vase of flowers will add a sweet smell to the new serene setting too!

 

A fresh coat of paint gives new life to a room

Bedrooms:

Is your bedroom boring? Believe it or not, but a fresh coat of paint goes a long way to updating a room. Colours go in and out of fashion, but scuffs and fingerprints never work on your walls. With minimal labour, and a home renovation project that won’t break the bank, that new splash of colour in your bedroom just might be the selling feature that your potential home buyer is looking for! Why not pick up a new scatter rug for beside the bed and maybe even some simple curtains to complete the look.

 

Maximize your storage space to increase your profit

Storage:

Nothing turns a potential home buyer off more than lack of storage. No problem! If your closet space is cramped, think about adding a closet system to maximize your storage space. You will have extra space in no time! Don’t forget to purge as much as possible to make the storage space you do have look that much bigger. In fact, renting a storage unit while your house is on the market, just might be worth the money. Plus, you might find you don’t miss those extra bits and bobs at the end of the day anyway!

 

Curb appeal sells houses

Outdoor Appeal:

A new pool or outdoor spa is not the way to add value to the outside of your home. Most of the time the exact opposite is true in fact. But you can improve the outside appeal of your home with a few easy steps. First step; mow the lawn. It sounds simple enough, but a well-manicured lawn is the first thing a potential home buyer is going to see when they approach your house. Cost = $0 (or whatever you pay your lawn contractor). Try planting some pretty annuals for a pop of colour to your garden beds. If gardening isn’t your forte, then buy a simple planter to place at the front door. Again, first impressions count, so make the effort and you are well on your way to making that sale.

 

Projects or not, any house has the potential to sell if you undertake some minor home improvements and stage it appropriately. Once you are ready to pound the “FOR SALE” sign in your yard, contact me!

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!

The Royal LePage 2012 President’s Gold Award

Top 6-10% Nationally

A Question of Quality

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