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I saved 2 lives!!

Wed, 07 Feb by Pauline Relkey

Yes, believe it or not this really happened to me. Here is my real life story.

A couple months ago, I was going to pick up an item I had agreed to purchase on Varagesale. Varagesale is an app that connects with Facebook and enables you to buy and sell stuff locally.

As I was walking up the outside stairs of this house, I thought I could detect a natural gas smell which usually means there is a leak nearby. It could come from a gas furnace or gas fireplace or gas appliances, etc. The mother of the girl who was selling the item answered the door and when I told her why I was there, she said she would get her daughter. I told this lady that I could smell gas and she should probably call our local gas company and have them come out and check. There is no cost for this and it’s for safety reasons. The lady either didn’t seem to really care or wasn’t comprehending what I was saying when I told her this. The daughter came out and we exchanged money and the shirt that I was buying and I left.

When I got back into my vehicle, I thought about what just happened and got the impression that the lady would not place the call so I took it upon myself to call the gas company. The person that answered my call was a bit surprised that I was calling about someone else’s property and not my own. But I explained to her that I am a Realtor and have smelt this a few times before when I had gone into properties and recognized this smell again. So this lady said they would look into this situation.

Very shortly after, I received a phone call from one of the employees of this gas company who said that he was outside this property and got a reading of 2 which he said was very high to get outside and it meant that the whole house was full of gas. He said that the people inside weren’t answering the door when they knocked and he didn’t even want to call them on the phone because that could set off an explosion. So I went back on Varagesale and messaged this person to answer her door and to get out of the house immediately as there was a gas leak and it was dangerous to be there.

She did message me later to say thanks. The gas employee also told me that I basically saved their lives by calling in the gas leak. I was both happy that no one was hurt and freaked out that something like this could have ended up in a tragedy.

So there, to all my friends and family that critique my use of Varagesale.  By using Varagesale, I saved 2 lives!

PS How do you detect a leak? Follow your senses!

Use your NOSE
SaskEnergy adds an odour to natural gas so you will quickly know if there’s a problem. If you smell an odour that is similar to skunk or rotten eggs, there may be a natural gas leak.

Use your EYES
You cannot see natural gas, however if you SEE a vapour, ground frosting, or a significant area of brown vegetation, that could be an indication of a natural gas leak. As well, if you SEE continuous bubbling of wet or flooded areas, or dust blowing from a hole in the ground during drier conditions, there may be a natural gas leak.

Use your EARS
If you HEAR a high-pitched hissing or roaring noise, there may be a natural gas leak.

TAKE ACTION!
If you suspect a leak indoors or outdoors:

  • Leave the home or area immediately
  • DO NOT use any electrical switches, appliances, telephones, motor vehicles, or any other sources of ignition such as lighters
    or matches
  • Call SaskEnergy’s 24-hour emergency line from a safe place
    1-888-7000-GAS (427)
  • DO NOT assume that the issue has already been reported or
    that someone else will call.

$25 Gas Detector Rebate

The most common way to detect a natural gas leak is using your sense of smell. The use of a gas detector is an additional and/or alternative safety measure for detecting a natural gas leak.

  • Most gas detectors also detect carbon monoxide. These detectors are appropriate for your home.
  • You may want to consider purchasing a second gas detector for your garage, keeping in mind that a carbon monoxide detector is not appropriate for a garage.
  • Smoke detectors do not detect natural gas.

If the warning alarm on your gas detector goes off, be sure to follow the same precautionary steps as indicated above – leave the area immediately and phone 1-888-7000-GAS (427).

Gas Detector Rebate Form

Gas Detector Rebate – Questions & Answers

How will SaskEnergy respond?

In the event of a natural gas emergency, SaskEnergy and local community response teams will:

  • Respond to the suspected site immediately
  • Assess the source of the problem and ensure the site is cleared of anyone whose safety may be at risk
  • Communicate and advise customers regarding a resolution plan

Saving $ while Shopping

Mon, 05 Feb by Pauline Relkey

I just learned something new this past weekend. If you go to buy something and the scanned price is higher than the shelf price, you are entitled to get a discount, either free or $10 off.

On behalf of Canadian retailers, RCC manages the Scanner Price Accuracy Code.
To file a complaint under the Scanner Price Accuracy Code, please contact: 1-866-499-4599.

The Scanner Price Accuracy Voluntary Code (“the Code”) evolved from the collaborative efforts of Retail Council of Canada (RCC), the Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada and the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers (CFIG). These associations are composed of national, regional and local retailers selling a wide assortment of general merchandise, as well as pharmaceutical and food products.
This diversity in the Canadian retail environment underscores the advisability of a voluntary code that can be widely used.
The Scanner Price Accuracy Voluntary Code has been endorsed by the Competition Bureau.

PURPOSE
The purpose of the Code is to:
1. Visibly demonstrate retailer commitment to scanner price accuracy;
2. Provide retailers with a consistent national framework for dealing with scanner price accuracy issues; and
3. Provide the retail industry with a mechanism for consumer redress in scanner price accuracy cases, to be managed by the industry through an industry committee.

SCOPE
The Code applies to all scanned Universal Product Code (UPC), bar coded, and/or Price Look Up (PLU) merchandise sold in stores, with the exception of goods not easily accessible to the public (e.g. prescription drugs and behind-the-counter cosmetics), and individually price-ticketed items.
The Code does not apply in provinces or territories where existing legislation or regulation covers these concerns.
A retailer adopting the Code must abide by the policies outlined below.

1. THE ITEM FREE SCANNER POLICY
Retailers will implement an Item Free Scanner Policy as follows:
1.1 On a claim being presented by the customer, where the scanned price of a product at checkout is higher than the price displayed in the store or than advertised by the store, the lower price will be honoured; and
(a) if the correct price of the product is $10 or less, the retailer will give the product to the customer free of charge; or
(b) if the correct price of the product is higher than $10, the retailer will give the customer a discount of $10 off the correct price.
1.2 Where the same error recurs in scanning multiple units of a given product during a given transaction, the retailer will correct the scanning error in respect of each unit of the given product purchased, but is obliged to apply the policy set out in 1.1 (a) and (b) in respect of only one of the units.
1.3 Paragraph 1.1 only applies after the final sale price of the purchased item has been displayed at the checkout, including relevant rebate, discount or promotional coupons.
1.4 To be eligible for the Item Free Scanner Policy, the product must match the product description on the corresponding shelf tag.
1.5 The Item Free Scanner Policy does not apply if the barcode or shelf label for a given product has been tampered with.
1.6 The Item Free Scanner Policy does not apply to a product where, in respect of that product, the law:
(a) establishes a minimum price (or specified price); or
(b) does not permit the retailer to offer a discount or a rebate.
1.7 The Item Free Scanner Policy does not apply to a product that government legislation or regulation does not permit to be provided free or below a minimum price.
2.0 CORRECTION OF ERRORS
2.1 Once a scanner pricing error is brought to the attention of the retailer, appropriate steps should be taken as quickly as possible to correct the source of the error.
2.2 When a retailer cannot immediately correct a scanning error in respect of a product, it will post a correction notice in a conspicuous place. Once such a notice has been posted, the Item Free Scanner Policy is no longer in effect in respect of the relevant product.
3.0 RETAILERS’ RESPONSIBILITIES
3.1 All retailers will apply the Code, consistent with the philosophy and intent. In situations where retailers believe that customers’ requests are beyond the Code’s intent, these situations will be discussed with sponsoring Associations to ensure consistent application and remedies.
3.2 Retailers will establish appropriate internal policies and procedures for maintaining a high level of scanner price accuracy.
3.3 Retailers will display the sign attached hereto as Attachment 1 at all store entrances or in a conspicuous location near the store entrances. Retailers will display the sign attached hereto as Attachment 2 at each checkout station within their stores.
3.4 Retailers will train staff on the Code generally and the Item Free Scanner Policy in particular.
3.5 Retailers will have copies of their current advertising material (e.g. flyers, etc.) available and readily accessible for customer reference.
4.0 SHELF LABELS
4.1 For those products that are not individually price-ticketed, a clear and legible label must be affixed to the shelf next to the product.
4.2 The shelf label (peg label, basket label) must contain an accurate description of the item and shall include the price of the item or, where the item is sold at a price based on a unit of measurement, the price per unit of measurement.
4.3 The price on the shelf label must be in at least 28-point bold type print, and product description in at least 10-point type print.
4.4 A sign for a given product within the retailer’s premises which is not displayed with that product (i.e., is displayed elsewhere within the retailer’s premises), shall comply with the minimum requirements described above and be at least 38.71 sq. cm in size.
5.0 CUSTOMER RECEIPTS
5.1 The cash register receipt provided to the customer for a transaction must contain, at a minimum, the following information:
the retailer’s name;
the date of the transaction;
the nature of each item purchased and/or any distinguishing mark (subject to the system’s limitations); and
the price and description of each purchased item.
6.0 CODE MAINTENANCE AND ADMINISTRATION
6.1 A Scanner Price Accuracy Committee (“the Committee”) will be created to review the Code on an annual basis and to recommend required amendments. The Committee should be composed of representatives of the Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada, CFIG, RCC and the Consumers’ Association of Canada (CAC).
6.2 The Committee should be responsible for keeping the Code up to date.
6.3 The Committee should meet at least twice a year in order to supervise national implementation of the Code and consider any recommended changes to it.
6.4 The Committee should create sector specific panels (i.e. Grocery, Drug or General Merchandise). Each panel should:
(a) be composed of representatives of the respective trade associations and the CAC;
(b) review any outstanding complaints arising from the Item Free Scanner Policy; and
(c) recommend ways of resolving the complaint and provide relevant direction to the appropriate contact person.
6.5 The Committee shall prepare an annual report for the Competition Bureau concerning the number of complaints received and their resolution.
7.0 CONSUMER COMPLAINT PROCESS
7.1 When a scanner price error occurs, the cashier will be authorized to implement the Item Free Scanner Policy.
7.2 A customer dissatisfied with the cashier’s decision will be directed to the store manager or supervisor.
7.3 If the store manager or supervisor cannot resolve the dispute, the customer should be directed to a designated company representative.
7.4 The time period for considering a particular complaint should be left to the discretion of the retailer. However, generally complaints should be resolved as expeditiously as possible and, in any event, no later than one month after the error is alleged to have occurred.
7.5 In the event that the dispute between the retailer and the consumer cannot be resolved:
(a) either party may refer the complaint to the Scanner Price Accuracy Committee; and
(b) if the dispute remains unresolved it may, at the request of either party, be referred to a designated arbitrator on a cost recovery basis.

Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada Supporting Companies:
Shoppers Drug Mart
The Groupe Jean Coutu (NB and ON only)
Lawton Drug Stores
London Drugs
Lovell Drugs
Pharmasave BC
RCC Supporting Companies:
Costco Wholesale Canada Ltd.
The Home Depot Canada
Canadian Tire Corporation Ltd.
Toys r Us
Rona
Wal*Mart Canada Corp.
Giant Tiger Stores Ltd.
The North West Company
Best Buy
2 Home Hardware franchisees
Canada Safeway Limited
The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company of Canada Limited
Loblaw Companies Limited
Sobeys Inc.
Metro Inc.
Thrifty Foods
Co-op Atlantic

CFIG Supporting Companies:
Thrifty Foods
Overwaitea Food Group
The Harry Watson Group
Longos Brothers Fruit Markets
Federated Co-operatives Limited
+ 1374 independent locations

Energy Rebates Resources for Provinces

Wed, 25 Oct by Pauline Relkey

Well I have to say I am disappointed with my province of Saskatchewan as you can see from the list below that most of Canada’s provinces and territories have some kind of energy rebate program in place.  Newfoundland, Nunavut and Saskatchewan have to giddy up and get on it.

Ontario Enbridge Home Winterproofing Program
https://www.enbridgegas.com/homes/manage-energy/rebates-incentive-programs/winterproofing/index.aspx

British Columbia – BC Hydro – Home Renovation Rebates
http://www.bchydro.com/powersmart/residential/savings-and-rebates/current-rebates-buy-backs/home-renovation-rebates.html

PEI Heat Pump Rebate Program
https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/information/transportation-infrastructure-and-energy/heat-pump-rebate-program

Nova Scotia Your Energy Rebate Program
http://www.novascotia.ca/sns/access/business/your-energy-rebate/about-the-program.asp

New Brunswick Home Insulation Energy Savings Program
https://www.nbpower.com/en/smart-habits/energy-efficiency-programs/home-insulation-energy-savings-program/

Quebec – RénoVert Tax Credit
http://www.revenuquebec.ca/en/citoyen/credits/renovert/default.aspx

Manitoba Power Smart Home Insulation Program
https://www.hydro.mb.ca/your_home/insulation/program/index.shtml

Yukon Good Energy Program
http://goodenergyyukon.ca/?utm_source=oldresidentialpage

Northwest Territories Energy Efficiency Incentive Program
http://aea.nt.ca/programs/energy-efficiency-incentive-program

Energy Efficiency Alberta
https://www.efficiencyalberta.ca/

Questions to Consider Before Meeting With a Home Designer

Wed, 13 Sep by Pauline Relkey

Designers typically charge an hourly rate for design services, so clients should do their homework before meeting with one. Think about what you want, what you NEED and what you can afford. If you think about these things before you meet with your designer, it can save you time and money.

To create a home that best serves you and your family, designers need to know your lifestyle, how you use your space, who uses the space and more. In other words, a designer needs to get inside your head. To help you prepare, here are things you should be able to answer about your space before meeting with your designer.

1. Who uses the space, and what activities will take place there? Having a list of all the uses for the space will help your designer get a feeling for the overall function. Is the room a personal space, like an office or a bedroom? If so, s/he might need to focus on creating an inspiring or a calming atmosphere.

Or maybe it’s a family room that is used by the entire family and needs to be a multifunctional place where teens do homework and everyone watches tv and plays games. Answering those questions will allow your designer to hone in on the function of the space, who uses it and why.

Also look at how big the space is. Does it allow for segregated areas or do we need to use a table as a multipurpose piece for both dining and homework?

Furniture that has multiple functions is a big space saver. A coffee table with a top surface for playing games and for extra seating, as well as a storage area below for books and toys, provides versatility.

2. Does the traffic pattern work in the space, or does the space feel cramped or underutilized? A major walkway should be at least 40 inches wide and the larger the walkway, the better. If you report that you often feel as though it’s a tight squeeze when multiple people are using a space, then a designer may remove the furniture and reconfigure it to accommodate a better flow.

For a kitchen usually islands are preferred over peninsulas if possible. An island opens up the space from every direction of the kitchen, whereas a peninsula allows for only one walkway. Again, it depends on the space, and your designer will be able to help you configure the best traffic flow. Sitting down and thinking about those times you’ve bumped into a family member as you’re cooking will give us clues to the right solution for you.

3. What kind of tasks do you need lighting for? Do you read a lot? Crochet? Or do you watch movies in the dark? The right lighting scheme will make your space more functional for all your tasks. If you tell your designer what you intend to do in your space, s/he can formulate the best lighting approach using task, pendant, undercabinet, recessed, ambient or natural light (via light tubes, skylights or a window), along with wall sconces and uplights.

For recessed lighting, use dimmer switches, which are great for low light while watching movies and giving off a soft ambient glow for entertaining. A table light or floor lamp is good for tasks or reading. Uplights are accent lights that can highlight artwork and collectibles.

4. What items are kept in this room? Let’s say you have one bathroom that’s shared by several family members, and you’re looking to remodel it. When you describe all the things that are stored in the space, the number of people who use it and so on, a designer will help you come up with the right storage solutions while keeping style in mind. For example, open shelving with baskets would give each family member his or her own basket, and would look great. Shallow wall built-ins, such as a medicine cabinet, would provide storage for shampoos, creams and toiletries.

A good designer can help solve storage issues but needs to know what issues should be addressed.

Here’s another example. If your counters are full of mail, keys, homework, magazines, electronic devices and so on, then maybe a main station is for you. A piece of furniture that has numerous compartments or drawers can help store those miscellaneous items.

If clutter collects in your family room, you might consider side tables with drawers or open side tables with a large basket or wooden crate for magazines, books and knitting supplies. Or maybe an ottoman that allows for storing items inside, such as blankets, pillows and things that are used sparingly.

Or maybe the solution is to add a functional piece of furniture storage in one room to help clear out space in another room, like a large armoire in your dining room that can store infrequently used dishware to free up space in your kitchen.

Think of how you do laundry. Do you need one hamper or four? Maybe you prefer to hang clothing rather than fold items after they come out of the dryer. Do you like to stand and fold clothes, or do you put them in a basket and fold them in another room? Do you need a place to iron or just the storage space to keep the iron and ironing board? Again, these are things that will help a designer quickly come up with the right design for you.

5. What look or feel do you want the space to have? Think of what you like in terms of colors, style and overall feel. If you’re looking for a calming environment in the bedroom, then maybe white walls, bedding and furniture are a good approach.

Ii’s recommended that clients create their own ideabook for each space and add comments on each photograph. Think about what it is in each photograph that inspires you, such as the color on the walls, the artwork, a piece of furniture or the overall feeling. Include information and pictures of appliances, plumbing fixtures, lighting fixtures, cabinet and door hardware, and flooring materials if these will be elements in your project.

Consider what speaks to you. Is there anything you personally cherish, example a colorful silk scarf that you love. This could set the tone for your family room. Paint the walls white to provide a neutral backdrop that allows you to add color throughout. Then add a tan sofa with colorful pillows and an accent piece of furniture painted a color taken from the vibrant scarf. A neutral rug can ground the space, and you can bring the scarf colors into other areas of your home through art and accessories, making it a cohesive home.

Don’t box yourself in with one design style, either. Be open to hearing a designer’s pitch on a combination of styles that might surprise you and also save time and money. For example, they might consider looking in other rooms of your home to swap out furnishings that will refresh and bring a new feeling to a room rather than buying all-new pieces. That old vintage chair in the basement could be just the piece you were searching for to break up a modern room.

6. What do you like about the space, and what do you most want to change and why? Not every room needs a total overhaul. In one room you may like a few things, such as the furniture and size of the room, but not the wall colors and rug. Sometimes just adding a few pillows and accessories is all a room needs.

You may like the overall feel of a space, but it may feel cramped with too much furniture. Designers can put together a floor plan for the best use of your space while considering focal points, large windows, art and so on. They know the space requirements for furniture and can map out the best traffic path.

A good designer will work with your list, making it a space that is right for your lifestyle while keeping the things you like and removing the things you don’t. Don’t be shy. Make clear what your likes and dislikes are. This is your space, after all.

7. How much money do you want to devote to your project? Setting budget expectations is important to the success of any remodeling or new construction project. Be realistic. A total average kitchen remodel can run as much as $80,000 and up. A basic kitchen remodel, keeping existing cabinets and floors, can cost about $16,000, depending on a variety of factors. If you’re on a strict budget, consider changes you need to have and which would be nice to have.

Share your budget right away with your designer, as this will set the tone of the makeover and will eliminate unnecessary backtracking later.

8. How much do you want to be involved in your project? Do you want a designer who will work with you, or do you want the designer to take charge and provide you with options? Clarifying your expectations will help you and the designer communicate well and ensure the result you want.

In the end, doing your homework will save you money that you can then put back into your project.

Home Fixes Before Selling

Thu, 13 Jul by Pauline Relkey

Prioritize the projects that will bring the most value

Fix it to sell.

Structural is just as important as cosmetic.

Give the buyers what they want — create the “wow” factor.

The process of getting a property ready to put on the market can seem daunting enough. There is clearing the clutter, cleaning, organizing and scrutinizing your property with a fine-tooth comb. What needs attention and what can you leave alone?

Welcome to the new world of “fixing to sell.” Gone are the days of throwing it on the market and seeing what happens. Prepping for sale is a highly choreographed dance of repair along with a bit of renovation and presentation.

Pay attention to these 7 areas.

1.Structural and mechanical
It might not be glamorous, but buyers are looking at big-ticket items like the age and condition of the roof, air conditioning and heating systems, electrical panel and pipes.

You don’t have to replace all, but if any of these components are on their last leg, you might seriously need to consider replacing them as these items could factor into the kind of financing the buyer is able to obtain as well as insurability of the property.

Appraisers can be notorious for requiring a roof to be replaced, for example, as a condition of a loan. Replacing a roof that is at the end of its life before putting your home on the market will go a long way to solidifying buyer confidence in deciding to make an offer. The buyer (and you) won’t have to sweat what an inspector says, deal with a potential renegotiation before closing or face a price reduction. The last thing you want to be doing is putting on a new roof in the midst of trying to pack.

If you lack the budget to replace these items, get estimates on the cost involved to replace. You can always offer to contribute to the replacement cost in the form of a credit to the buyer’s closing costs.

2. Exterior

How does the exterior of your home look? Is there any wood rot? When was the last time it was painted? Are there any stucco cracks that need attention?

First impressions start from the outside, and the exterior will show up in photos across a multitude of websites, etc. This is definitely an area worth spending the money.

3. Landscaping

Speaking of the exterior, how does your landscaping look? Are the trees and shrubs overgrown, worn and wilted? What about the ground cover? Are the planting beds in need of some fresh mulch, pine straw, rock, etc.? Are there any overgrown tree limbs hanging over the house or blocking the home’s view? For a relatively inexpensive investment, you can transform how your exterior looks by trimming back and freshening things up with new plants and landscaping.

4. Cosmetic

Buyers buy with their eyes, so now is the time to go through the interior in detail. Are there dents and dings on the walls, scratched moldings or worn paint? Now is the time to spruce up the inside with a fresh coat of paint. Pick light, neutral and on-trend colors. Choose a neutral palette that will transition well with any buyer’s furniture. The latest trend is a combination of grey and beige.

Look at your light fixtures, ceiling fans and light switches — these are relatively inexpensive things to update and replace, yet they go a long way toward creating value. The front door? This is critical! Does it need a fresh coat of paint or new hardware? Consider adding a glass panel to create light that evokes a sunny and warm space.

5. Kitchen

This area is always huge with buyers. Even if the buyers barely know how to boil water, they always envision themselves in the kitchen cooking and entertaining or perhaps auditioning to be the next Food Network TV star surrounded by sleek appliances and cabinetry.
Here’s where you need to give them the look for less. Think new hardware on cabinets, adding or changing out a dated tile backsplash and updating appliances. Also, consider changing out counters — you might be able to find a reasonably price remnant of a granite slab.

6. Bathrooms

Simple and clean rules the day. Sprucing up your bathrooms to sell can be as simple as having the grout on the existing tile steam cleaned or regrouting where needed. Caulking, new plumbing and light fixtures along with mirrors can create value.

7. Flooring

What you walk on creates value. If you can only afford to make the investment in one significant part of your home, consider updating the flooring. There are a ton of low-cost options to choose from that include wood plank tiles and highly upgraded laminate flooring — think wide plank, light colored or hand-scraped styles. New flooring can totally transform the look of your space and give it the “wow” factor that buyers desire. New flooring can transform the look of your space and give it the ‘wow’ factor that buyers desire.

In undertaking for sale preparation, strike a delicate balance between what to fix and what to leave alone, but in the end, make the right improvements that will result in a faster sale for top dollar.

Selling Your Home

Mon, 08 May by Pauline Relkey

Have you ever wondered what steps you need to take selling your home? There are a few things to consider. The spring and summer time are a very busy time for real estate agents. Therefore it is important to make sure that you get your home in the best condition. This will help attract maximum interest and hopefully sell your home faster. Here are some basic tips for you.

Clean It Out

Go through your entire house and make an assessment. People are very attracted to a tidy and organized house. The first step is to remove the things that clutter your home and the things you don’t want to keep in your next move. Choose a designated place to put this stuff away, and go through the rest of your house. The change in weather from winter to summer means that you can put away all your heavy outerwear. You’ll be happy to have less to pack on moving day and your house will be more appealing to potential buyers. A garage sale or for the more techy people, Varagesale, is also a great way to get rid of some things that you may not need or want anymore.

Fix Things Up

Determine what house maintenance you need before you sell. Repairs may be needed to pass a home inspection. It is better to take care of these issues right away! This will make it easier when you are ready to sell and will improve your sales opportunities. Simple repairs are also worth the effort that they take. Painting shutters, replacing the broken banister rail and patching up the walls will provide a return. This helps with creating the right impression on the first visit.

Think like a Potential Buyer

This is a hard step because we love our homes and generally assume others will like them as much as us. Accept that potential buyers have different tastes. You may also consider hiring a house staging professional who can objectively determine what needs to change from a design perspective. Consider basic staging techniques such as removing clutter as mentioned above. It is also beneficial to put away personal items like photos and trophies as well as cleaning your house thoroughly. It is also important that your house smells good to eliminate pet and food odors. Make the entrance to your home attractive and add character to your backyard to make it more appealing. Buyers pay attention to these things!

12 Things to Know about Real Estate Selling

Wed, 16 Nov by Pauline Relkey

1. A home is worth what a buyer is willing to pay.
You may think all the time and effort you put into your home and what you paid for it previously makes it worth a certain price. Even an appraiser may come in before you list and say it’s worth close to a price you like. But at the end of the day, it is only worth what a buyer is willing to pay for it. The buyer takes into account what changes s/he wants to possibly make and if s/he feels the asking price is too much to justify buying it then putting more money into it, s/he will buy a different property. A buyer would rather purchase a home for $250,000, put $25,000 into it and have it be worth $275,000 instead of buying a home at $275,000 that needs the same work of the $250,000 home.
2. Upgrades may not increase the value, but they’ll increase the chances of getting it sold.
It’s normal to think or hope that you’ll get back every penny spent on a home renovation. Unfortunately most cases you might only receive back a percentage of what you spent (or sometimes no hike in value at all). Different home improvements generally offer different returns, and that amount can vary depending on the area that you live in. Other factors include the quality of the craftsmanship and the personal taste of buyers.

3. Keep it clean
No house is ever going to be perfect, especially with a dog in the summer or with kids and their toys and stuff.  But you need to make an
effort to keep your home as clean as possible during listing photos and showings. You want potential buyers to remember what they love about the home after they leave and not talk about how much of a mess your home was instead.

clean-home
4. Curb appeal is the first (and strongest) impression.
We all know what they say about first impressions. It’s hard for someone to change their mind after a bad first impression. Take a look at the front of your home. As a stranger, would you buy it? Just in case you’re biased, look next door. What about your neighbor’s home? Would you buy theirs? If no, imagine if they made it more presentable. Then would you buy it? Yes? Remove the kids’ toys from the front yard. Hide the trash cans and recycling bin. Mow the lawn and trim the bushes, especially before your pictures are taken! AND continue to maintain the lawn for showings and for the chance that someone might just drive by and notice the for sale sign in your yard. If you have shutters, make sure they’re all still attached and if needed,. put a fresh coat of paint on them. And don’t forget to pressure wash!

5. Pet odor and clutter leave the longest lasting impressions.
Just because we love our furry friends, doesn’t mean that everyone else does. It’s hard to erase every piece of evidence that they exist in your home. No matter how many times you vacuum, there will be pet hair that you miss. Just make an effort. And if you can, hide their bedding and food bowls. Pet odor is extremely hard to hide, especially if you have a puppy learning how to be potty trained or an older dog with a bladder problem.  Maybe allow for a flooring allowance in the deal. For now, stick an air freshener here and there, but not too many as a strong perfume smell makes buyers suspicious.
6. Neutral paint and decor will always appeal to the masses.
Get rid of those dark colors and bright purple accent walls now! That will stick out like a sore thumb in your listing photos before a potential buyer even schedules a showing of your home. The first thought going through their mind is, “How many coats of paint is it going to take to cover up that hideous color?!” Neutral is in. Neutral is always in. As for decor, minimal is best. Go ahead and pack any extra decor that is not needed.
7. Cheap fixes or updates will result in cheap (low) offers.
If you can’t afford to update the whole house, don’t. Trying to cover everything will result in cheap updates that the potential buyer will most likely want to have redone. If nothing else, as stated above, at least paint. A fresh coat of paint in the whole house, as long it’s a natural and neutral color, is never wasted money.
8. Everything is negotiable.
Seriously. Everything is negotiable. While the refrigerator seems to be the biggest thing that buyers want or sellers state in the listing that i can be included with an acceptable offer, many other items have been negotiated – curtains, furniture, even art work. However, it is very important to make sure negotiations are done right and documented correctly in the contract.

9. Time is of the essence.
Whatever market we are encountering, whether it is a buyers’ market, sellers’ market or balanced market, the perfect time to list is when it’s right for you, the seller.  But make sure you are confident that you do want to sell.  I’ve encountered a few sellers that say they want to sell, but their actions speak louder than their words (refuse to let showings happen, make showings difficult for buyers agents to book them, restrict showing days and times, won’t leave the property when someone is showing, etc).  If it’s a sellers market, when properties are sold quickly and there are many times when there are more than one offer on the same property, that is the perfect time for you to list your home if you’ve been considering it. Homes can barely be put on the market before there is an offer put on them. This being said, time is of the essence for buyers. If you fall in love with a house, you need to put an offer in now, and a good one at that. There is no time to waste going home and talking about it or sleeping on it. That home might not still be on the market tomorrow.

10. Location! Location! Location!
Why does location matter so much? For starters, you don’t usually move a home — at least not easily or inexpensively. When you buy a home in a good location, it’s usually a solid long-term investment. It’s sometimes wise to buy the worst house — a property that could use some TLC — on the best block. Why? Because fixing up a home in a great neighborhood will give you the best return on your investment and will be easier to sell later on. Conversely, you can buy a beautiful home that doesn’t need any work. But if the block is sketchy or just plain bad, you could have a hard time selling the property at a decent price.

11. Buyers notice things they want to change before noticing any updates.
Like previously said, it’s hard to please everyone. Even though you just spent $30,000 on an upgraded kitchen, the buyers are looking forward to having the carpets ripped out and hardwoods laid. Or, they just might not like the choices you made during the renovation process. One possible move you can make is to allow a flooring or paint allowance, therefore you’re not wasting the money while getting the home ready to sell and they can pick out the details they like.

12. Price your property correctly 
This is sometimes like trying to hit a moving target but you need to be aware of what is around you, both selling and not selling. Even if you’re in a hurry to sell and price isn’t your main concern, you still need a baseline to start marketing your home. One thing’s for certain: pricing is one of the biggest decisions in the selling process. Set too high a price and you run the risk of turning off potential buyers. It also means your house will not show up when buyers search online since they will be using lower price points.

All these hints can help you when you need to sell.

Safety Checklist

Wed, 09 Nov by Pauline Relkey

With winter soon approaching (at least not today with temps of 19 degrees), we might have a little more time to think about safety features in our homes.

Smoke detectors

Whether it is law or not, there should be smoke detectors in every building. Does every floor have a smoke detector? Are there additional ones in sleeping areas? Test the detectors regularly. Change batteries twice a year.

Carbon monoxide detectors

Do you have at least one carbon monoxide detector in your home? Test the detectors regularly.  Change batteries twice a year.

Home security

Do you have solid locks on doors and windows?   Outdoor light sensors?  Timed indoor lights?  Installed home alarm system?

Fire extinguishers

Its always a good idea to have 1 or 2 fire extinguishers in the home.  Have one in the kitchen (especially when I try to cook). Have another in the garage. Does everyone in the household know how to use them? Are they functional? Are they expired?

Safety education

Teach your family about the importance of home security and fire safety. Ensure they know how to use preventative safety equipment. Do they know how to call 911 in case of an emergency? Design and review an escape plan for all potential situations. If you live in a 2 storey home, do you have a collapsible ladder nearby?

fire-extinguisher

Autumn Checklist

Tue, 18 Oct by Pauline Relkey

Love those leaves
Instead of thinking that the fallen leaves are nothing but a nuisance involving hours of raking and bagging, spread the leaves over soil so the worms can work their fertilizer magic. Plus pile them under shrubs and trees for additional winter root insulation.

autumn-leaves

Protect a tree
You love those shrubs and trees that you have in your yard so wrap them, especially the newly planted ones, with burlap to protect them from the harsh elements and the drying winter sun and wind.

tree-wrapped

Inspect eaves troughs
Once most of the leaves have fallen off the trees, give gutters and eaves troughs a thorough cleaning to prevent water and ice build-up. Maybe consider putting a leaf guard on the eaves troughs.

eavestrough-with-leaves

Plant a spring delight
Planting spring bulbs in the garden during the fall will ensure a pop of color in the ground come spring. Bulbs can be planted right up until the ground freezes.

bulbs-flowers

Hire a chimney sweep
It won’t be long until we start using our fireplaces. I have already turned ours on a couple times this past month. Wood-burning fireplaces, in particular, require annual maintenance. Hire a professional to clean and inspect fireplaces, dampers and chimneys.  Maybe you’ll get the famous Dick Van Dyke to check them!

chimney-sweep

Furnace and ducts cleaned
Before turning on the furnace, call the professionals to clean and inspect it. Furnace filters should be changed every couple of months so keep a stockpile of them handy. Have your home’s heating ducts cleaned to ensure optimal air and heat flow.

furnace-duct-cleaning

Track the drafts
Batten down the hatches and keep the chill out by inspecting windows and doors for drafts. Replace old and rotting weatherstripping around the frames to prevent heat loss and water leaks.

drafts-windows

Recycling Week in Regina

Mon, 17 Oct by Pauline Relkey

Always a good reminder to learn something new about recycling.

October 17-23 is Waste Reduction Week. Play for a chance to win a free year of recycling! Have fun while learning recycling tips & tricks to reduce household waste. Visit Regina.ca/waste for full contest details.

recycle reduce reuse

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