Finding a New Home on a Tight Schedule

Wouldn’t it be nice if you had all the time in the world to find your next dream home? You could leisurely browse the current listings, select homes you’d like to see, schedule visits on dates that are most convenient for you, and make an offer on a property only after you’ve had plenty of time to consider all the alternatives.
 
Sure, that sometimes happens, but it’s not typical. Often, people shopping for a home are on a timeline. Sometimes a very tight timeline. So how do you find your next dream home when you don’t have all the time in the world?
 
First, you need to develop a clear picture of the home you’re looking to buy. How many bedrooms? What size of property? What type of structure (two story, back split, etc.) Then, you need to list your preferences. These might
include “large kitchen” or “main floor office”.
 
Once you’ve completed that exercise, you’ll have a more detailed profile of the type of property you want. That will make it easier to decide which of the listings on the market you want to see. You should also narrow down the area in which you’d like to live. If you have three or four targeted areas, and only consider listings in those areas, your home search will be much faster.
 
What if you don’t know the neighbourhoods well? Visit a few. Drive around. Explore. Get as much neighbourhood data as possible, such as demographics, recreational activities, parks, shopping, schools, etc. Then choose the neighbourhoods that fit your lifestyle.
 
Finally, the best way to find a new home on a tight schedule is to work with the right real estate agent — someone who, like me, is experienced in the local market!
 
Call me anytime at 416-779-8732
 
*Morris Marketing*

How to Spend Less in 2019 without Feeling Deprived

As any financial expert will tell you, spending less is the surest way to boost your disposable income. With that extra money, you can pay off credit card debt, add to your retirement savings, or earmark funds for a fun vacation.
 
It sounds great. However, many people associate spending less with living with less. It doesn’t have to be that way.
 
Consider the following tips:
 
• Use coupons. This may seem like an obvious technique, yet few people do it. Did you know you can save up to 15% on groceries and household items by using coupons? Be a coupon hunter!
 
• Get on the email list of your favourite retailers. Yes, you’ll be inundated with emails. But, you’ll also get the heads-up on sales and other savings opportunities.
 
• Buy resale items on “buy and sell” websites. You may not know that this doesn’t necessarily mean buying used. Many people sell items on these sites, such as ski equipment, that they purchased but never used. Often the prices are just a fraction of the original price.
 
• Negotiate with service providers. Often, if you ask your internet, phone or gym provider for a better deal, they’ll give you options. After all, they want to keep you as a customer!
 
With these tips, you won’t feel the pinch, but you will notice the savings! You’ll be surprised to see how much can really add up over the year.
 
*Morris Marketing*

Embrace the “Fun Fitness” Trend in 2019

Let’s face it. Some people love going to the gym. Others hate it. Some people enjoy jogging. Others would rather watch people jog! So, consider yourself lucky if you’ve found a fitness program you love. If you don’t, you’ll have to force yourself to do it and it’s likely that you’ll have a hard time sticking to your commitment. That’s the main reason for the growing trend of fun fitness.
 
The idea is to find an activity you enjoy, and then learn how to get fitter by doing it. For example, say you enjoy gardening. Did you know that there are many simple
exercises you can incorporate into gardening that will improve your strength and cardiovascular fitness? There are even yoga positions for gardeners!
 
Do you like swimming for leisure? Consider joining a club where you can swim competitively. You’re bound to get in better shape quickly, doing something you already enjoy. Walking is another activity many people like. Did you know that a 30-minute walk each day at twice your normal pace is almost equivalent to a 20-minute daily jog!
 
So reaching your fitness goals doesn’t have to mean dragging yourself to the gym. Find an activity you like and then “fun fitness” it!
 
*Morris Marketing*

Making Plans

Did you know that this is the most popular month for making plans for the future? It goes beyond mere New Year’s resolutions. During the month of December, it’s not uncommon for people to set ambitious goals for the entire year. But, when it comes to goals, one thing is for sure.

People rarely achieve them without some help from others. So, if your plans for 2019 are home-related in any way, I may be able to help. For example, if you’re planning a renovation project, I may be able to recommend a reputable contractor from my network of local contacts. If you’re curious about the value of your home, I can give you a good idea of what it might sell for on today’s market. And, of course, if you see yourself moving at any point in the coming year, as your real estate agent, I’ll make sure the entire process goes smoothly.

As I said, few people achieve their goals on their own. If you think I can help you achieve yours, give me a call!

All the best!

Goal Achieving: Getting through “the Dip”

It’s not surprising that no one quits a marathon near the finish line. If anything, they run faster! The place where most runners are likely to quit is the middle. Author Seth Godin calls this phenomenon the dip.

So how do you get through the dip when you’re striving for your 2019 goals? One method that experts often recommend is to divide your goal into shorter milestones and then celebrate those milestones when you reach them. For example, say you want to lose 20 pounds. That’s a goal that may take several months and is prone to the dip – the midway point where you may give up.

So, split that goal into shorter milestones. The first might be staying on a healthy eating plan for two weeks. The second might be losing your first five pounds. When you achieve each milestone, celebrate it. Give yourself a high five! This technique effectively eliminates the dip because the timeframe to achievement is much shorter. Try it on one of your New Year’s goals.

*Morris Marketing*

Condo Fire Safety

Should a fire ever break out in your condo, reaction time is critical because it’s likely that there are a limited number of exiting options from the building.
Aside from strategically placed smoke detectors, consider models with emergency lights that can help save lives by enabling quicker evacuation through smoke and/or darkness. Never neglect testing your alarms regularly, and remember to replace batteries twice a year.
 
Likewise, it’s important to have an appropriate grade extinguisher in your unit and to locate the building’s fire extinguishers. Learn how to use them to help suppress a sudden small fire occurring anywhere in your unit. As with all safety equipment, check that operational dates are not expired. If you’re ever unsure, invest in a new one.
 
An evacuation plan is another important aspect of fire safety that is sometimes overlooked. Condo policies and procedures will vary according to the size and complexity of the building, so you should make sure to have the proper fire safety procedures and policies for your building.
 
It’s wise to become familiar with them in advance of a real threat. For example, ask yourself if you and your loved ones know what to do when an emergency alarm sounds and elevators stop working. You should be familiar with multiple escape routes in case of fire, as well as a safe meeting area after exiting the building.
*Morris Marketing*

Smoke-Free Condos?

If you live in a condo, you probably have a strong opinion about smoking. On one hand, you may recognize that individuals deserve the freedom of choice in their own homes. On the other hand, you might also be aware that smoke can never be contained enough to prevent it from drifting from one unit to another, potentially infringing upon the neighbours’ enjoyment of their units.

Regardless of how you feel, it’s important to recognize that there are many areas across the country that are trending towards regulating smoking in residential buildings, not unlike in public institutions and private establishments. If you are resistant to such change, you need to watch how the issue unfolds in your region, your municipality and your building, as it may affect your long-term decision about where you choose to live.

However, if you are determined to see change take place, you need to understand what barriers you may face, in order to evaluate the likelihood for initiating such change. Either way, if it’s important to you, it’s important that you work within your local laws and your condo rules towards the outcome you desire.

*Morris Marketing*

Four Things You Should Know About Staging

You’ve probably heard about “home staging”. As the name implies, it’s all about arranging each room in your home in a way that will make the best impression on buyers. Here’s what you need to know about staging if you’re thinking of listing your property.

1. Staging can get you a higher price.

On average, a fully-staged home tends to sell for 17% more than an unstaged home of the same type in the same local market. Depending on the current market value of your property, doing some staging in your home could put thousands of extra dollars in your pocket, post-sale.

2. It can speed up the sale.

A study by the Real Estate Staging Association (RESA) showed that fully-staged homes spend an average of 90% less time on the market. So, if you need to sell quickly – without dropping your price – or you just want the comfort of having offers come in sooner, staging will definitely help.

3. You don’t have to go crazy.

Completely staging every room in your home is going to give you the full benefits of this strategy. However, you don’t have to go that far. In fact, just implementing a few simple staging techniques to some key rooms can make a big difference.

4. Get professional help or advice.

When it comes to home staging, don’t guess at it. Get professional help or advice. As a REALTOR®, I have a lot of expertise in this area and often provide clients with proven, do-it-yourself staging tips and suggestions. If necessary, I can also recommend a professional stager.

Contact me anytime! (416) 779-8732

Showcase your Home With the Right Lighting

The top retail store chains invest heavily in creating just the
right lighting to make their products look great. Why? They
know that lighting makes a measureable difference in sales.
 
The same is true when you sell your home. Lighting can make a big difference in the impression your home has on buyers. There are two types of light sources, manufactured and natural.
 
You need to consider both when staging your home for sale. Think about the mood you want to create in each room. For example, you might want the kitchen to seem bright and alive. If yours isn’t quite like that, check whether you are using the highest wattage light bulbs suitable for your fixtures. Also, look for ways to bring in more sunshine. Switching curtains for blinds might do the trick. In the living room, you might want a cozier feel. That can be accomplished by using lamps that cast a softer and gentler light than more imposing overhead lighting.
 
Pay particular attention to dimly lit rooms in your home, including nooks and crannies. Even adding small track lighting to a pantry cupboard can make the space seem brighter and more inviting. Check that lighting is adequate in the garage and walk-in closets too.
 
Finally, make sure all lights in your home work during viewings. Have spare bulbs available in case of a burn-out.
You don’t want a buyer to try to turn on a light and discover
it’s not working.
 
*Morris Marketing*

Reducing Screen Time Can be Beneficial

There is no doubt that technologically advanced homes provide amazing opportunities, both within the household walls and from outside the home, in terms of convenience, safety, efficiency, and learning.
 
However, there are also strong arguments for reducing our reliance on technology, especially when it involves screen viewing. From smartphones to computers to big-screen entertainment centres, our preoccupation with using technology is reducing our desire to get active and stay physically fit.
 
Furthermore, experts are suggesting that excessive screen time is negatively affecting our behaviour, possibly on a permanent basis. With statistics suggesting that less screen time can result in better sleep, less stress, greater focus and improved sociability, it might be worth considering a reduction in the use of technology by avoiding electronic devices at certain times of the day, or for a given day of the week.
 
*Morris Marketing*