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How to Get Top Value for Your Home

Thursday, June 1st, 2017

This article appeared in the Saturday, May 20, 2017 issue of Waterloo Region Homes.

Knock Knock? Who’s there? Someone who wants to buy your house? Consumer Beware! For most readers this is no newsflash: Waterloo region’s residential real estate market is red hot!

Like many markets across the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH), we in Waterloo region have been experiencing record breaking sales combined with low inventory levels for months now. In other words, it is a sellers’ market.

During the first quarter of 2017, there were 1,532 home sales through the Multiple Listing System (MLS® System) of the Kitchener-Waterloo Association of REALTORS® (KWAR). The average price of a residential home during this same period increased a whopping 28.3 per cent on a year-over-year basis to $468,653.

While statistics like this can paint some of the picture, what it cannot tell you is what your home will sell for. The fact is no one really knows what price their home will fetch until it is put to the test of being listed with your Realtor on the MLS® System.

These days we are seeing some sticker shock. For example, when a house priced in the $300,000 range subsequently sells for a hundred-thousand dollars over asking! Does this mean that every home listed for $300,000 will bring substantially more? Absolutely not! In fact, it might sell for exactly $300,000 or even less. Only the market can determine sale price, but the experience of a knowledgeable local Realtor can certainly help predict it.

With a shortage of listings (we have been sitting at less than two month’s inventory or less for the past 12 months) inventory levels are at an unprecedented low and buyer creativity at an all-time high. One strategy some buyers and their Realtors have turned to in these times is good old fashioned door-knocking to find homeowners who could be tempted to sell while the market is hot.

Now, knowing what you do know about today’s market, what would you do if someone came knocking on your door tomorrow, offering you X amount for your house? Would you know if what they were offering was fair market value?

There is certainly nothing wrong with this practice and when it works out it can be a win-win for both buyer and seller. On the other hand, my caution to homeowners is: the person doing the knocking may be offering you a price that sounds attractive, but how can you be sure?

Sometimes in this scenario, sellers are attracted by the idea of a quick hassle-free transaction. They’ve been offered a price that is way more than what they originally paid for their home, and maybe even way more than what they ever dreamed they could ever get.

I have heard a few anecdotes recently where the buyer knocking on the door has actually encouraged the homeowner NOT to use a Realtor (It would be unethical and illegal for a Realtor to do this by the way).

In one case, the gentleman did sell his house without the aid of a Realtor, and the price he sold it for – while far more than what he paid when he purchased it over 30 years ago, was substantially less than what he would have got had he put it on the open market.

I think the Canadian Real Estate Association’s latest advertising campaign says it best: “Live with No Regrets.” Using a Realtor is the most important decision you can make when buying or selling.

On whatever side of the transaction you are on, if you have a Realtor in your corner (i.e. you’ve entered into either a listing agreement or a buyer representation agreement) they have a legal duty to only act in your best interests. Furthermore, they are bound by the Real Estate Council of Ontario, the Canadian Real Estate Association and their local real estate board’s Code of Ethics, rules and regulations.

When your home is listed by a Realtor you get the counsel of someone who understands the market and can guide you on the best pricing and selling strategy. If you’re purchasing, your Realtor will provide you with insight and advice on the home, the neighbourhood, and when it comes to submitting an offer, how many other buyers you are competing against and advice on the price you offer. So what should you do when someone comes knocking on your door? Please take my advice: take their information and then talk to a Realtor. He or she will be able to assist you in reviewing the doorknockers’ offer and help you understand all of your options to ensure you end up with the offer that is best for you.


Screen Door Decor

Monday, July 27th, 2015

Screen DoorsScreen doors let the breeze in and keep the bugs out. They open your home to the sounds and scents of summer, and help cool your house without wasting energy on air conditioning. Want to let in a little more summer this year? Here’s what you need to know about picking the perfect door.

Screen doors have come a long way from the hard-to-open metal models and flapping wood doors of your childhood. Available in metal, vinyl or wood, many feature smooth hydraulic or pneumatic closers and springs or chain stops that keep them from slamming shut or swinging open. Designed for both practicality and curb appeal, doors are available in a wide variety of colours, styles and finishes. Your choices include:

1. Basic vinyl or aluminum. Durable and affordable, these doors come in a surprising variety of attractive styles; you’ll find everything from traditional designs to art deco-inspired geometrics.
2. Storm/screen door combo. Traditionally, people replace the screen door with a storm door in the winter. A combination door makes the “swap” easier; simply remove or slide the glass down in summer and replace it with a screen.
3. Wood. From rustic doors featuring carved animals to pretty “granny doors,” wood can really add to the look of your home. However, winter cold and damp can be hard on them, so manufacturers suggest that you take them down when it gets cold to prevent warping.
4. Sliding. Inexpensive and easy to maintain, sliding screen doors that go with patio doors make it easy to open up your home to a fresh breeze.
5. Retractable screens. If you don’t like the look of a screen door, these are a great option, and are available at your local home improvement store. Screens pull out from the sides and lock shut with a magnetic catch. Handy homeowners will be able to install them with little effort.
With the right screen door for your home, comfort and curb appeal are a breeze!

Tips for installation
Thinking about installing your screen door yourself? Manufacturers include installation instructions that only require hand tools, but most DIY resources suggest an intermediate level of “handiness.” If that doesn’t sound like you, consider using an experienced carpenter or the store’s installation service.

Condo Cool
You don’t have to live in a house to kick back and enjoy the breeze. Welcome summer into your space by installing a screen door to your balcony. It’s a great way to make your indoor and outdoor spaces feel unified and to make your condo feel more spacious.



Home away from Home…

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

Looking for that cottage life?cottage

Do you have a dream of owning a place outside of the city where you can escape, kick back and relax? If so, you’re not alone. As demand continues to increase and average prices continue to rise, now more than ever you will need to be patient, establish a list of ‘musts’ and work with a Realtor who understands the recreational market, if you want your dreams to come true.

To begin your search, target potential areas and consider a road-trip to visit your most coveted spots. Once you find your ideal location, narrow your search by establishing a list of priorities. Do you plan to use your recreational property for seasonal versus year-round use? Do you wish to build a new cottage or buy an existing one? What are your hobbies? Is proximity to hospitals, public transit or schools important? If you are near water, lakes can vary tremendously in terms of allowances for boating, fishing and swimming. In the winter, do you want to use both cross-country and downhill skiing facilities?

With your priorities established, you will also be in a strong position to act fast if you need to. Popular sites are in demand.

Buying a recreational property can be considerably more complex than a standard home purchase and it generally takes longer. There is considerably more time and travel involved. The effort, according to a growing number of Canadians, is more than worth it.

Before you begin your search, give me a call. I can get you started down the right path toward your home away from home. If I cannot assist you directly in your purchase transaction, I can refer you to a quality Royal LePage Realtor in your desired area from our network of over 13,000 real estate professionals from coast to coast.

For the most recent Royal LePage Recreational Property Report, visit and click Press Releases.,Demystifying Mortgages – How Much Can You Borrow?

A home is typically the largest purchase you will make in your lifetime, and for most Canadians this means obtaining a mortgage. The amount of your mortgage will determine the size and location of your new home – not to mention the size of your payments. So how do lending institutions decide how large your mortgage loan can be?

Call RIZ today to purchase your home away from home! 519-716-7253 (direct)

walk way                                                                    cottage living room

Flooring choices on the greener side!

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

What goes under foot is seldom an easy decision. Colour, surface texture, room usage and price all come into play. Today, greener options abound, adding to the myriad of choices already available.

Increasing interest in incorporating renewable resources into the home has resulted in many beautiful eco-friendly flooring options.

For homeowners looking on the greener side, it’s worth a look at the many sustainable products available today:

• Give a tree another lease on life with salvaged wood flooring. A rustic look can be created with reclaimed wood. Buying reclaimed lumber continues to get easier, and in some instances, less expensive relative to the cost of new hardwoods.
• Bamboo is a good option for rooms with low humidity. High abundance and a natural look make sustainable bamboo an attractive flooring option. Bamboo grows to maturity in three to five years, about a quarter of the time it takes to grow trees used for hardwood.
• Linoleum flooring has retained its popularity over decades. Unlike vinyl flooring, which is a synthetic product made of chlorinated petrochemicals, linoleum is manufactured from natural compounds including linseed oil, cork dust, tree resins and ground limestone. With natural, renewable elements used in its manufacturing, this eco-friendly flooring option continues to remain a popular option.
• Cork flooring has many eco-friendly attributes. Like bamboo, cork is quickly renewable. It is harvested from the bark of the cork oak tree and grows back every three years. Cork has anti-microbial properties to reduce allergens, is fire retardant and provides a comfortable feel under foot. Cork flooring can be finished in a variety of paints and stains to complement any room setting.
• Polyester (P.E.T.) Berber carpet is a sustainable option made of recycled plastic bottles. Anytime we can reuse these materials, we reduce the amount of new materials being manufactured and we reduce non-biodegradable materials in our landfills. Polyester Berber is spill resistant and comes in a variety of aesthetically – pleasing colours and patterns.

Whatever your home’s style or design, an eco-friendly flooring option exists to complement the desired look and existing patterns.

Canada Day July 1st, 2015

Monday, June 29th, 2015

Canada Day Local Eventsautumn-leaves-869368-s

Canada Day @ Waterloo Region Museum (DOON)

9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. FREE Admission! Waterloo Region Museum is throwing a party to celebrate Canada Day and everyone is invited! Admission is FREE to the museum and Doon Heritage Village for this fun family event including musical entertainment, fun games like croquet and horseshoes. Guests bring your own picnic lunch or purchase a tasty BBQ lunch.

Columbia Lake Events starting at 4:00 P.M

~ featuring Bobs & LoLo and TVOKids host Gisele

~ featuring live performances by The Strumbellas and Kim Mitchell

~including face painting, water slide, inflatable rides and more

~featuring Waterloo Brewing Co. and a diverse range of local food vendors

~Fireworks finale at 10 p.m.

Kitchener City Hall

Come celebrate Canada Day with us in Downtown Kitchener from 4 p.m. – 11 p.m. This exciting celebration will feature live Canadian entertainment, fireworks from the roof top of Kitchener City Hall, a licensed beer garden, downtown vendors to satisfy your hunger, and much more!


Looking to Make a Small Room Appear Bigger??

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

Helpful hints in making a small room appear bigger!

Small rooms are the bane of the home decorator. How do you achieve a pleasing look that doesn’t feel cramped and claustrophobic? Short of building an addition or knocking down walls, you are limited to a few, but effective, decorating tricks that create the illusion of space.

The strategic use of colour and light is the best way to achieve this. Choose light shades of paint or wallpaper for the walls. Lighter colours reflect light making for a brighter room. Use an even lighter shade of the same colour or white for ceilings and floors. A darker colour on the ceiling will make the ceiling look lower and tends to make the walls look as though they are closing in.

Avoid harshly contrasting colours. In fact, a monochromatic colour scheme that carries throughout the room into fabrics and accessories is very effective. Steer away from too many patterned items. The goal here is to blur perspective.

Anything you can do to bring light into the room will also give the effect of increased space. A corner wall sconce that casts light up onto the wall works well. Try to vary lighting effects for interest. A skylight is a great way to add light to a room, but isn’t always practical or affordable. Mirrors are a great solution for small rooms. Place mirrors directly across from another for maximum impact. A mirror placed across from a window is also effective. Place a lamp in front of a mirror to add more light to your room.

If you have wood or patterned flooring, have it installed so that the lines run diagonally across the room. This makes for longer lines, which give the appearance of a larger space. When furnishing the room, pick objects that are proportioned to the size of the room. For example, opt for a loveseat over a full-sized sofa. Lastly, keep the clutter to a minimum. Avoid using a lot of knick-knacks and keep the room tidy and well organized.

Viewing an Open House with Open Eyes

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

open house two

Remaining objective can be a difficult task when viewing an open house. It is easy to fall in love with a home’s appearance, blind to problems that may make it unsuitable. While aesthetics can be an important consideration, it is necessary to look beyond window-dressing.

Aqualified home inspector should be hired before purchasing a home, but there are areas that consumers can examine on their own. This will shorten your list of potential homes and reduce the likelihood that a home inspector will reject it as unsafe or unsuitable. Here are some considerations and common problem areas to look for when touring an open house:

General Upkeep

Much can be surmised from the general state of the home. Is the home clean? Are lawns left uncut? Are the walls chipped and in need of paint? If smaller chores have been ignored it may be an indication of a broader disregard for home maintenance.

Water Leaks

Check ceilings and drywall for stains, bulges and other signs of water damage. Water that works its way inside via a leaky roof or a cracked foundation can rot wood, create mildew and mold, destroy possessions and can be expensive to repair.

Does it Work?

Test lights, faucets, the heater, air conditioning, major appliances (that are to be included with the home) – even flush the toilets to ensure everything is working as it should.


As you walk across the floors be aware of spongy (soft or springy) sections. Excessive squeaking and uneven, bumpy floors may also be indicative of expensive forthcoming repairs.

Doors & Windows

Check that doors and windows fit snugly in their jambs and operate smoothly. Look for flaked paint and loose caulking. If the wood around windows and doors is not protected from moisture, it can rot away. Feel for drafts in these areas too.

Poor Drainage

On a wet day walk around the yard and look for areas where water collects. This can be an especially bad sign if there are soggy areas near the home’s foundation.

Grout & Caulking

If the grout and caulking around bathroom and kitchen tiles is loose and crumbly, there is a good chance that water is finding its way into the wall or under the floor.


Although this is definitely an area where you want the services of a qualified home inspector, you can get an idea about possible structural problems if you see deep cracks in the foundations or loose mortar and bricks.

Miscellaneous Concerns

Naturally, one the most important factors will be determining if the house suits your family’s needs. If you do not want to replace all of your furniture, make sure it will fit into the rooms of the new house. This is difficult to do by eye, so be sure to bring a measuring tape. Also, take note of storage space. If you are moving from a home with large closets and a shed, make sure your new house is able to store an equivalent amount of belongings.


Preparing your home for a sale!

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

Are you ready?


When you have decided that the time is right to sell, the first step in preparing for the sale of a home is finding out its worth. Contact me for a comparative market analysis, an informal estimate of value based on the recent selling price of similar neighborhood properties.

Working to ensure your home is in the best condition possible for showing to prospective buyers will position you to receive top dollar. This includes repairing or improving any trouble spots that could deter a buyer, such as squeaky doors, a leaky roof, dirty carpet and walls, and broken windows.

The first impression that potential buyers form of your property as they drive or walk up should not be underestimated. The “curb appeal” of your home is extremely important. You can create a positive first impression by making sure the lawn is pristine – the grass cut, debris removed, garden beds free of weeds, and hedges trimmed.

However, the trick is not to overspend on pre-sale repairs and fix-ups. This is especially important if there are few homes on the market but many buyers competing for them. On the other hand, making such repairs may be the key to selling your home in a down market.

Don’t Put it on HOLD…..Call RIZ to get it SOLD!!!

Fine Homes

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

Winter Collection

Fine Homes Winter 1

Happy Valentine’s Day & Family Day Weekend

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

 Featured Listings

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