Kitchen Upgrades that Make Sense

Rather than abandoning the idea of a dream kitchen because it’s too expensive or too much work, consider doing your makeover or renovation in stages. This could make a transformation affordable and simple enough to
allow you to get started sooner.
 
For example, beyond a new paint job, basic upgrades such as replacing your countertops, adding a backsplash or installing new cupboard doors could make a huge difference. There are a variety of materials to consider and many eye-catching options available.
 
If clutter is a problem, consider replacing your cutting knives and pots and pans with new attractively designed ones. Then, install wall mounts to get them out of your cupboards. Your newly displayed housewares will make room for storing countertop appliances and other items in your cupboards.
 
If you’re more ambitious, you could escalate your renovation plans to include new plumbing and electrical arrangements to accommodate a change in layout and/or an upgrade to your major fixtures and appliances. But, before you dip into your budget, take time to investigate the latest options. Many can save you money, time, energy, and space.
 
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4 Good Reasons to Consider Selling your Home

Why do people decide to move? Unless it’s a requirement, such as job relocation, the research tells us that many homeowners decide to sell for one or more of the following reasons:
 
• Your home is no longer a good fit. You may have outgrown your house and need something bigger, maybe with an additional bedroom. Or, the opposite may be true. You may want to downsize into something smaller – and cash in some of the home equity you’ve built up.
 
• You’ve got your eye on a different neighbourhood. Have you ever driven through an area and thought, “I’d love to live here”? You might think that it’s out-of-reach for you at this time. But is it? You never know until you work the numbers. You might, in fact, qualify for a home in that neighbourhood today!
 
• You want to be closer to something. Many homeowners would love to live closer to work, family, favourite hobbies, downtown, the country, etc. Moving to a house that’s near to one of these “somethings” can have a positive impact
on your lifestyle.
 
• It’s time for a change. Sometimes a homeowner just wants a change: new surroundings, a fresh start. Who says you need a “practical” reason to sell? If you’re looking to get into a new home just because you feel like it, that’s your choice. In fact, that may be the best reason of all to sell. You may simply want to move.
 
Do any of these reasons resonate for you? If so, now is the time to start preparing. Even if you don’t anticipate moving for several months, start the process today.
Call me at 416-779-8732!
 
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Be Prepared for Power Failures

We are all vulnerable to unexpected power disruptions, but with a few advance preparations, potential inconveniences and dangers can be avoided or at least minimized.
 
As a starting point, every home should have emergency supplies that include basics such as candles and matches, flashlight(s) and fresh batteries, a first-aid kit, and at least one large jug of fresh water. Wherever possible, it is also advisable to include more extensive preparations.
 
Consider keeping a stock of dried foods and/or canned goods, all-weather emergency blankets, waterproof clothing and footwear, as well as cash for consumables such as fuel and food supplies. Anyone requiring medications should always renew them before running too low to ensure sufficient supply. Likewise, all battery-powered devices should be kept charged – including radios, computers, cell phones and mobility vehicles.
 
For some, the inconveniences of a power-outage outweigh the cost of installing a gas-powered generator. Whether you’re ready to incur that expense or simply plan to stock up on supplies, it’s always wise to take steps that will see you and your loved ones through a power failure.
 
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How Much Can You Spend on Your Next Home?

Even if you’re not thinking about selling your home, you might be wondering how much of a new home you can afford. You might see a house for sale in a nice neighbourhood, for example, and think, “Could I get into a house like that? Is that even possible?”
 
Why not find out?
 
It only takes a few calculations to determine how much of a new home you qualify to buy. The calculation involves estimating how much you can get for your house on today’s market, taking a look at the type of home you want and determining what a house like that is currently selling for, and then taking into consideration your income, savings and other financial resources. Once you put it all together, you’ll have a price range within which you can confidently shop for a new home.
 
This exercise might surprise you. You might find out you can afford to get into a home and neighbourhood you’ve always dreamed about. It’s worth finding out!
 
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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.
 
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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!
 
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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.

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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.
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