Advice tips and ideas for home owners


Sprucing up the Driveway

 Tuesday, August 7, 2018     Marion Goard     House and Home

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Sprucing up the driveway

Most times we settle for a ‘traditional’ driveway that’s plain old asphalt. Even though it’s practical and economical, there are many other ways to add more interest and elements of design. Take a look at these ideas for your pathway:

Concrete

Many options are available with concrete.  Stamps, patterns, and colours make these options almost limitless. A smooth texture looks very sleek but can be slippery in the winter. To prevent slipping most companies recommend a ‘broom finish’, which creates a rougher surface for better traction. For a more modern look, create a pattern with strips of grass between the concrete.

Interlocking Stone

A wide variety of colours and stones are available in different sizes and materials. Formed concrete pavers are the least expensive whereas higher-end granite cobblestone pavers are more expensive. Interlock can be cut into many different shapes to fit your driveway and can be assembled in a wide variety of patterns; including geometric, angles or circles.

Gate Ways on Edge

Add a gate to the end of your driveway for a distinguished look. Instead of plastic edging, use pavers to edge your driveway as an attractive way to keep planting areas neatly contained.

Cool Heat

In the winter, wouldn’t it be nice to have a driveway without ice? Heated driveways can be created with radiant floor heating systems and can be controlled with the flip of a switch from inside your home.

Lighting

Add warmth and charm by installing pathway lighting. LED lights recessed into the driveway cast a warm upward glow and highlight your home’s exterior. They’re also a practical safety feature for your home.

If you’re considering a new driveway and your budget calls for more than just repaving with asphalt, consider one of these options for added curb appeal.

Contact me anytime to find out how I can help you on your real estate journey! Email me at mariongoard@kw.com or call 905-335-8808


Weeding Tips and Tricks for Your Home

 Monday, July 30, 2018     Marion Goard     House and Home

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Weeding Tips and Tricks

Weeds can be aggressive and invasive to your beautiful lawn so it’s important to learn how to best get rid of them and keep them away. Even though it takes some work, it is worth it, in the end, in order to enjoy your lawn and gardens without pesky weeds.

Uprooted
First, the most important rule to remember when weeding is to not leave the roots behind. After you pull it out, if the roots are left the weeds will grow back. So be sure to grab it close to the ground and not leave any behind.

Tug of war
Another key trick to help make weeding easier is to do it when the grass is wet after the rain. This helps the weeds to pull out easier. If there is no rain in the forecast, you can water your garden and lawn yourself before you start pulling.

Clean fill wanted
When planting your garden remember to not leave bare spots for the weeds to move in. Space plants apart as recommended and fill in unused spaces with a liberal amount of mulch. Use mulch as much as possible as it retains the moisture and doesn’t let weeds grow.

Natural weed killer
To kill tough weeds you can make a solution with vinegar and water in a spray bottle, which works as a weed killer. Just be sure to only spray the weeds and not the plants.

Keep away
The last tip is after you pull the weeds out, do not throw them in a compost pile as any seeds that have already formed might spout. Keep on top of the weeding to make it a less tedious job and achieve that desirable weed-free yard you’ll love.

Contact me anytime to find out how I can help you on your real estate journey! Email me at mariongoard@kw.com or call 905-335-8808.


Why Selling Privately Could be a Mistake

 Monday, July 23, 2018     Marion Goard     House and Home Real Estate Market

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Many people are tempted to sell a home on their own because they like the idea of saving that four to six per cent commission they’d otherwise pay a real estate agent. However, selling privately is a lot harder than you think and there are many downsides to offering your home as ‘for sale by owner’ (FSBO). 

No mediation

Consider all the aspects that go into selling a home yourself and know exactly what you’re getting into. Selling a home is hard work and will take up a lot of your time. You’ll need to book appointments and show the property to buyers, hold open houses, negotiate the offers, market the home and deal with all other administration required for the sale. It can be a full-time job, except it’s not! 

Benefits of hiring a Realtor

Real estate agents are the professionals who know exactly what your home needs to be the most appealing to potential buyers. They have the knowledge and experience to handle all aspects of the sale. They can guide you in choosing the best, most appropriate price at which to list your home. Agents have market knowledge and aren’t emotionally attached to the property. Going the FSBO route can lead to overpricing which could mean your house will sit on the market for too long. Negotiating the sale can be an awkward and difficult thing to do. A good Realtor can negotiate more favourable terms, price and conditions for you than you’ll likely be able to do on your own.

Hiring a real estate agent also means you’ll benefit from the services they offer including, staging, professional photography and video, social media and exposure to a wide network of other Realtors through multiple listings services. 

Think twice about skipping a real estate agent when you sell your home. They’re there to help!

Contact me anytime to find out how I can help you on your real estate journey! Email me at mariongoard@kw.com or call 905-335-8808.


Moving Tips For Seniors

 Tuesday, July 3, 2018     Marion Goard     House and Home Buying and Selling

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Moving can be such a stressful time for people and for seniors the job can affect them both physically and mentally. However sometimes it cannot be avoided, so here are some key things for seniors to keep in mind to help the move go as smoothly and efficiently as possible. 

Helping hands

The most important thing is to ask for help! No one can do a move alone and the more helping hands the better. For seniors, lifting and bending can be challenging at times, so call in your family for help! Figure out how much of the move you’ll be able to manage on your own and what you will need help with. Hiring professional movers is something to consider if it’s in the budget. Don’t wait until the last minute to scramble help together, give people as much notice as you can to plan for the big day. You might need people to help you pack ahead of time too. 

Make a plan

Many seniors may have lived in their home for many years, saying good-bye can be emotionally difficult, so it’s best to give yourself plenty of time and make a plan. Break your move down into smaller tasks so it feels less overwhelming and more manageable. Give yourself lots of time… doing a small amount each day will help accomplish the tasks at hand, and will not be too emotionally overwhelming. Plan out which areas to do first and work from there. Make a timeline of required tasks from your moving date backwards, to make sure everything gets done leading up to your move.

Purge

As you work away around the house packing and organizing use this opportunity to declutter. It may be difficult to let go of some things but it will definitely help with the move and remember that it’s the memories that you carry with you that are most important. You could also consider giving these items to friends or family. Set up a sorting system for garbage, donating/giving away and what you’re keeping.

Make your move an easier one by following these tips for a successful moving day.


Real Estate Relocation Guide: 7 Steps to a Seamless Move

 Thursday, June 14, 2018     Marion Goard     House and Home Buying and Selling

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Whatever your reasons are for relocating to a new area, the process can feel overwhelming.

Whether you’re moving across across town or across the country, you’ll be changing more than your address. Besides a new house, you may also be searching for new jobs, schools, doctors, restaurants, stores, service providers and more. 

Of course you’ll need to pack, make moving arrangements, and possibly sell your old home. With so much to do, you may be wondering: Where do I start?

In this guide, I outline seven steps to help you get prepared, get organized, and get settled in your new community. My hope is to alleviate the hassle of relocating—so you can focus on the exciting adventure ahead!

  1. Gather Information

If you’re unfamiliar with your new area, start by doing some research. Look for data on average housing prices, demographics, school rankings and crime statistics. Search for maps that illustrate local geography, landmarks, public transportation routes and major interstates. If you’re moving across the country, research climate and seasonal weather patterns.

Check out local newspapers and blogs for information on political issues and developments that could impact your new community. You may also want to search for online forums and Facebook Groups relevant to your new area. These can be a great place to find information, ask questions and just observe local attitudes and outlooks.

If you’re relocating for a job, find out if your new employer offers any relocation assistance. Many large corporations have a designated human resources professional to assist employees with relocation efforts, while others may contract this service out to a third party. Some employers will also cover all or a portion of your relocation and moving costs.

By gathering this information up front, you’ll be better prepared to make informed decisions down the road.

Let me know if you’d like assistance with your information gathering process. I have a wealth of knowledge about this area, and have a number of reports and statistics on file. I would be happy to share information and answer any questions you may have.

  1. Identify Your Ideal Neighborhoods

Once you’ve sufficiently researched your new area, you can start to identify your ideal neighborhoods.

The first step is to prioritize your “needs” and “wants.” Consider factors such as budget; commute time; quality of schools; crime rate; walkability; access to public transportation; proximity to restaurants, shopping, and place of worship; and neighborhood vibe.

If possible, visit the area in person to get a feel for the community. If you’re comfortable, strike up conversations with local residents and ask about their experiences living in the area.

Still not sure which neighborhood is the best fit for you and your family? Contact a local real estate agent for expert assistance. It’s usually the most efficient and effective way to narrow down your options.

  1. Find Your New Home (and Sell Your Old One)

Once you’ve narrowed down your list of preferred neighborhoods, it’s time to start looking for a home. If you haven’t already contacted a real estate agent, now is the time. They can search for current property listings that meet your needs, typically at no cost to you.

If you already own a home, you’ll also need to start the process of selling it or renting it out. A real estate agent can help you evaluate your options based on current market conditions. He or she can also give you an idea of how much equity you have in your current home so you know how much you can afford to spend on your new one. 

Your agent can also advise you on how to time your sale and purchase. While some buyers are able to qualify for and cover the costs of two concurrent mortgages, many are not. There are a number of options available, and a skilled agent can help you determine the best course given your circumstances.

  1. Prepare for Your Departure

Allow yourself plenty of time to pack up your belongings. Before you start, gather supplies, including boxes, tape, tissue paper and bubble wrap. Begin with non-essentials—such as off-season clothes or holiday decorations—and sort items into four categories: take, trash, sell and donate/give away.

To make the unpacking process easier, be sure to label the top and sides of boxes with helpful information, including contents, room, and any special instructions. Keep a master inventory list so you can refer back to it if something goes missing.

If you will be using a moving company, start researching and pricing your options. To ensure an accurate estimate of your final cost, it’s best to have them conduct an in-person walkthrough. Make sure you’re working with a reputable company, and avoid paying a large deposit before your belongings are delivered.

Lastly, if you will be leaving friends or family behind, schedule final get-togethers before your departure. The last days before moving can be incredibly hectic, so make sure you block off some time in advance for proper goodbyes.

  1. Prepare for Your Arrival

To make your transition go smoothly, prepare for your arrival well before moving day. Depending on how long your belongings will take to arrive, you may need to arrange for temporary hotel accommodations. If you plan to move in directly, pack an “essentials box” with everything you’ll need for the first couple of nights in your new home, such as toiletries, toilet paper, towels, linens, pajamas, cell phone chargers, snacks, pet food and a change of clothes. This will keep you from searching through boxes after an exhausting day of moving.

Arrange in advance for your utilities to be turned on, especially essentials like water, electricity and gas. (And while you’re at it, schedule a shut-off date for your current utilities.) Update your address on all accounts and subscriptions and arrange to have your mail forwarded through the postal service. If you have children, register them for their new school or daycare and arrange for the transfer of any necessary records. 

You may want to have the house professionally cleaned before moving in. If there are no window treatments, you may need to install some (or at least put up temporary privacy film), especially in bedrooms and bathrooms. And if appliances are missing, consider purchasing them ahead of time and arranging for delivery and installation shortly after you arrive. Just be sure to check measurements and installation instructions carefully so you aren’t stuck with an appliance that doesn’t fit or that requires costly modifications to your new home.

  1. Get Settled In Your New Home

While staring at an endless pile of boxes can feel daunting, you should take advantage of this opportunity to make a fresh start. By creating a plan ahead of time, you can ensure your new house is thoughtfully laid out and well organized.

If you followed the suggestion to pack an “essentials box” (see Step 5), you should have easy access to everything you’ll need to get you through the first couple of nights in your new home. This will allow you some breathing room to unpack your remaining items in a deliberate manner, instead of rushing through the process.

If you have young children, consider unpacking their rooms first. Seeing their familiar items can help them establish a sense of comfort and normalcy during a confusing time. Then move on to any items you use on a daily basis.

Pets can also get overwhelmed by a new, unfamiliar space. Let them adjust to a single room first, which should include their favorite toys, treats, food and water bowl, and a litter box for cats. Once they seem comfortable, you can gradually introduce them to other rooms in the home.

Although you may be eager to get everything unpacked, it’s important to take occasional breaks. Have some fun, relax and explore your new hometown!

  1. Get Involved In Your New Community

Studies show that moving can lead to feelings of loneliness and depression. People who have recently moved tend to be isolated socially, more stressed, and less likely to participate in exercise and hobbies. However, there are ways to combat these negative effects.

First, get out and explore. In a 2016 study, recent movers were shown to spend less time on physical activities and more time on their computers, which has been proven to lead to feelings of depression and loneliness. Instead, get out of your house and investigate your new area. And if you travel by foot, you’ll gain the advantages of fresh air and exercise.

Combat feelings of isolation by making an effort to meet people in your new community. Find a local interest group, take a class, join a place of worship or volunteer for a cause. Make an effort to introduce yourself to your new neighbors, invite them over for coffee or dinner, and offer assistance when they need it.

Once you’ve developed friendships and a support system within your new neighborhood, it will truly start to feel like home.

LET’S GET MOVING

While moving is never easy, these seven steps offer an action plan to get you started on your new adventure. To avoid getting overwhelmed, focus on one step at a time. And don’t hesitate to ask for help!

In a 2015 study, 61 percent of participants ranked moving at the top of their stress list, above divorce and starting a new job. It is possible though, with a little preparation—and the right team of professionals to assist you—to have a positive relocation experience.

I specialize in assisting home buyers and sellers with a seamless and “less-stress” relocation. Along with my referral network of movers, handymen, housekeepers, decorators, contractors and other service providers, I can help take the hassle and headache out of your upcoming move. Give me a call or message me to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation!