There are many good reasons to put your property on the market. Some examples include a relocation, the kids leaving the nest, the need for something bigger or smaller, and the list goes on and on. However, there are also some less-than-obvious indicators that it may be time to sell. Consider the following:


1. Your Property is no longer a Good "Fit"

Your home may have been perfect for you when you bought it. But things change. Families grow. Needs evolve. For any number of reasons, your property may no longer be a good fit for you. If that's the case, it makes sense to at least take a look at what's available on the market. Who knows? Your next "perfect" home may be for sale right now — within your price range!


2. The Neighbourhood is Changing

You may have been in love with the neighbourhood when you first moved in. But, over time, the characteristics of any area can change. Those changes don’t necessarily mean the neighbourhood is getting worse. In fact, it may be changing in a positive way; perhaps becoming more urban. But, "more urban" may not be what you want. So take a look at the direction your neighbourhood is heading. Ask yourself, "Do I still want to be living here in two years?"


3. You're Ready for Your Dream Home

Remember when you purchased your current property? Did it have every feature you wanted? Was it your dream home? Or, did you have to compromise on a few things, such as the size of the kitchen? If you had to make some tough choices back then, it might be time for you to finally get the home of your dreams. Those are just three indicators it may be time for you to make a move. Of course, there are many others.

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Buying a new pair of shoes is relatively easy. Once you find the style you like, all you need to do is try them on and see if they fit. If they do, you go to the cash register and pay.

 

When it comes to size, buying a new home can be trickier! Whether your intention is to upsize or downsize, figuring out the right size can be especially challenging.

 

Say for example, you’re downsizing from a large two-story home to a smaller bungalow. You don’t want to underestimate the space you need and end up in a place that feels tight. If you’re going the other way and upsizing, you don’t want to end up sinking extra money into a property that’s larger than you really need.

 

So how do you avoid these scenarios?

 

One of the best ways is to start by considering your current home. Do you use all the rooms in your home regularly? Is there a bedroom that’s rarely occupied? Has the recreation room become simply a storage area? If you’re downsizing, subtracting rooms you scarcely use can give you a better idea of what you need in a new home.

 

Upsizing is a bit more challenging because you have to anticipate what you will need in the future. For example, if you have young children, and your place is feeling cramped, then a home with a recreation room or separate family and living rooms may be a good idea. You may also need a bigger kitchen with a spacious eating area (in addition to a separate dining room.) Think about the extra room you’ll need and how you’ll use that space.

 

When I work with a client, I typically sit down with them and discuss the type of home they want in detail — and, based on needs and circumstance, I make expert recommendations. Bottom line, I help clients find the perfect fit in a new home. Contact me if you’d like to learn more.

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For some homeowners, the process of listing, showing and selling their home can be stressful. Fortunately, there is plenty you can do to make it much less nerve-racking—and even exciting and enjoyable. Here are some ideas:

 

1. Make a plan. Decide when you’re going to show your property, search for a new home, view listings, etc. Block out these times in an agenda book or calendar. That way, you and your family can see what’s coming up.

 

2. Be flexible. Few things go exactly as planned! So, it’s important to build in flexibility. For example, you may plan to see homes for sale on Saturdays, but if an opportunity comes up on a weeknight, give yourself room in your schedule to jump on it.

 

3. Eat well. There are numerous studies that connect poor nutrition with increased stress. When people are selling and moving, there’s a tendency to rely on quick fixes, such as hot dogs and pizza! Try to plan more nutritious meals that will keep everyone healthy and energized.

 

4. Get stuff done early. Doing things last minute, such as finding a real estate lawyer or getting rid of clutter, can quickly lead to stress and frustration. Whenever possible, get tasks done early. That way, you won’t have to worry about them.

 

5. Hire the right professionals. By far, the surest way to a stress-free move is to get the right professionals working for you: everyone from contractors to mortgage brokers to movers.

 

By the way, a big part of what I do for clients is help make every aspect of buying, selling and moving go smoothly. Contact me to learn how I can help you.

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homenews by Neil Sharma09 Mar 2018

 

As cities adhere to the mantra of intensification, a property’s walkability is becoming increasingly important, and it’s reflected in its value.

According to Right At Home Realty broker Manu Singh, whose clientele is mostly comprised of urban professionals living in downtown Toronto, walk scores have become paramount. Fewer urbanites own cars than years past, and that’s made walkable amenities incredibly valuable.

“With the King St. streetcar pilot shutting down everything, it’s clear cars are becoming less and less important,” he said. “One thing I’ve noticed is cars and parking spots are decreasing. As a percentage of total units, there is less and less parking available because there’s more reliance on walkability and transit options. It’s become more relevant today than it was five years ago.”

Transit scores and bike scores are also important to homebuyers, he added. But they also reflect certain condo units’ values.

“As for the type of units whose values are impacted more, it’s anything smaller than a ‘two-plus-two,’” he said. “When you look at downtown and higher density areas, the walk score has higher impact on the value of units smaller than two-plus-twos because they’re larger in square footage and usually for families with babies who will use cars. Smaller units are more dependent on walking.”

Vancouver-based REMAX sales agent says walk scores in Vancouver have become important in the last few years. He says it’s partly a reflection of millennial-aged buyers and their preferences.

“In the last three years, the value of walk scores has escalated,” adding the proximity to the city’s Sky Train has similarly influenced value. “The ‘cyber buyer’—meaning the young buyer—is noticeably using that as one of their assessment factors, where three years ago only about 5% of consumers would speak about it. Now around 80% of consumers speak about it. A great walk score increases the value of the property.”

Young families also prize high walk scores as much as young, single urbanites.

“At the same time, a high walk score is important for families who want proximity to transit and school for their kids,” he said. “I see the importance of walk scores astronomically greater than it was three years ago, especially in Vancouver.”

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Next to your home and car, home furnishings represent the most expensive product purchases homeowners make. A mid-quality livingroom set, with sofa and two side chairs, can cost thousands of dollars. That’s why most furniture retailers offer “interest free” and “pay much later” deals to soften the blow.

 

These are basically financing options.

 

Say, for example, you want to purchase furniture for the rec room. The cost is $7,200. The furniture retailer may offer you a deal where you “don’t pay a cent” for six months. As long as you pay the balance within that time, no interest is charged.

 

That sounds like a sweet deal. And it is.

 

But, personal finance experts will advise you to tread carefully. If you pay off the balance within the “no interest” timeframe, you’ll benefit from the sweet deal, by having deferred the payment. However, if you fall behind on payments, you’ll be hit with a high interest charge. It’s often 20% or more. That can add hundreds of dollars to what you would have originally paid for the purchase.

 

And, even if you paid down most of the balance within the no interest period, you can still get hit hard. Some “no interest” deals charge interest on the original financed amount — not just the remaining balance.

 

The best advice, according to personal finance experts, is to read the fine print carefully and pay off the balance as promptly as you can.

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An Open House is an event. And, like many events, it’s easy to get caught up in all the excitement and energy. In fact, when you visit an Open House, you might even end up rubbing elbows with other buyers who are there at the same time. It can feel like a party!

 

In an environment like that, it’s not unusual to forget to ask important questions about the property. Here are some of the most common:

 

• How old is the roof?

• How old is the furnace, air conditioner and other HVAC equipment?

• How does the price compare to similar properties in the neighbourhood? (You don’t want to make an offer that’s too high.)

• What are the characteristics of the neighbourhood? (Amenities, safety, traffic, access to public transit, property turnover, etc.)

• What doesn’t come with the home? (Ask specifically about kitchen appliances, gas-connected BBQs, chandeliers, window coverings.)

• Are there any potential impediments to the sale? (Tenants, outstanding liens, etc.)

• Are there any outstanding maintenance issues, or repairs that need to be done? (For example, cracked ceramics on the foyer floor.)

• Are there any issues that impact the full use of the property? (Ask specifically about shared driveways or walkways, public “right of way” through the property, water drainage rights from neighbouring homes, etc.)

 

Yes, an Open House can feel like a frenzy, and if it’s a home you love, you might feel pressured to make an offer. But, it’s important to take the time to ask the right questions and consider your decision carefully. You don’t want to find out, too late, that there were questions you should have asked.

 

Want more tips on finding the home of your dreams? Call Tara Matthews Real Estate Group today.

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 90% of exposures to poisons occur inside the home. Almost all are preventable, if you follow some simple guidelines.

                 

  • Look for the poison label on products you buy. Visually, it’s a skull and cross bones, often (but not always) with the word POISON above it.

 

  • Don’t make assumptions. Sometimes a seemingly innocuous product, like a shampoo, can contain poison or other ingredients which are harmful if swallowed.

 

  • Avoid mixing different cleaning products together. When chemicals are combined, they change. Combining some cleaning products can even create toxic fumes.

 

  • Keep all medication, even the non-prescription kind, out of reach of children. Never leave medicine on the bathroom counter.

 

  • Never use pesticides inside the home unless the product is clearly labeled for indoor use. Then, use only as directed.

 

  • Never use a charcoal grill or barbeque indoors, no matter how well ventilated you think you’ve made it. Doing so can easily cause carbon monoxide poisoning.

 

One final tip. Pay attention to the expiry date of products, especially cosmetics and cleaning liquids. As chemicals age, they change and can emit harmful fumes. 

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Property Surveyors, sometimes referred to as land Surveyors, play a vital role in the real estate world. They are the professionals who determine or confirm the exact boundaries of a property.

 

Will you need to deal with a Property Surveyor when selling your home?

 

You might.

 

Sometimes the mortgage lender will ask for a land survey, especially if your property is older and hasn’t changed hands in many years. You might also be asked for one by the buyer if there is any confusion about the size and boundaries of your property – or if significant changes have been made to it in recent years.

 

This is nothing to be concerned about.

 

A qualified Property Surveyor will do the appropriate inspection and measurements on your property and issue you the survey. (It looks a little like a blueprint.)

 

Property Surveyors are highly trained and licensed. In the United States, the profession is represented by the National Society of Professional Surveyors, with each state having its own governing body. In Canada, Professional Surveyors Canada (PSC) represents the profession nationally, and most provinces have their own professional associations. 

 

Before getting a new land survey, make sure you don’t already have one. Hopefully, you’ve stored the paperwork that relates to the purchase of your home. Look through it. A valid land survey might be right there.

 

If you have questions about land surveys, call today.

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It’s early in the evening and there’s a knock on the door. You answer and are greeted by an official-looking man who claims he needs to see your utility bill to confirm you’re getting your energy rebate.

Do you let him in?

While he may be legitimate, he may also be using deception to sell you something you don’t want. Here are some suggestions for finding out:

  • Ask for a business card. Then, check if it has an address, phone number and website. If the salesperson refuses or just shows you his ID card (which anyone can fake), that’s a red flag.
  • Ask for the name of his employer. Sometimes salespeople will say they “represent the phone company”. That doesn’t mean they actually work for it.
  • Ask if you can call his company to confirm details before buying. If he refuses, or says the office is closed, shut the door.
  • Ask if you can consider the offer and call the office the next day to place your order.
  • If you’re really suspicious, ask him to come back later. Then, call the non-emergency police number. Police are aware of common scams in the area.

Most importantly, use your common sense. Door-to-door salespeople can be pretty persuasive, but if something doesn’t seem right to you, trust your gut. Say, “No thanks.”

Of course, if everything checks out with the salesperson, and the offer is a good one, consider taking advantage of it.

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No matter how much you love your current property, you may be dreaming of the day you can buy up into a better home in a better neighbourhood.

 

Is that day today, or, is it a few years down the road?

 

Here’s a quick way to make that assessment.

 

First, make a list of all the practical reasons why it might be time to move up. Those reasons might include features such as: more bedrooms, proximity to work and school, a larger backyard with trees, nearby parks and walking paths and better access to things you enjoy like theatre.

 

Next, make a list of the emotional reasons for making such a move. Those reasons might include memorable get-togethers with friends on a more spacious deck, an easier and less stressful commute to work, more family time with the kids and enjoyable Saturday golf at a nearby course.

 

Finally, take a financial snapshot to determine if you can afford to move up. You’ll need to get a good idea of what your current property will sell for in today’s market, average price of homes in your desired neighbourhood, and how much mortgage you’ll need.

 

Once you have all that down on paper, you’ll have a clear picture of your readiness. If the practical and emotional reasons for buying up are compelling, and you can afford to make the move, then you have your answer.

The time is now!

 

By the way, if you need help in making this determination – especially figuring out what your home will likely sell for, call today 604-834-(SELL)7355

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You’re standing by your window admiring the view. Then you notice it. Moisture has built-up around the edges of the glass. Should you worry?

 

It all depends on the reason for the build up.

 

Assuming you have traditional double-pane glass in your windows, there are a few things to look for if you notice moisture.

 

Often, moisture at the bottom of the windows is simply caused by too much humidity in your indoor air. If that’s the case, simply adjust your humidifier.

 

If the moisture is on the exterior of the window, typically there’s also no problem with the window itself. It may have rained recently or the outside humidity may have spiked causing the accumulation. Generally, there’s no reason for concern.

 

However, if the moisture is in between the two panes of glass, the seal has broken and surrounding air – along with its water content – has made its way in. This disrupts the thermal barrier of the window, reducing its energy efficiency. In fact, the glass might feel noticeably colder than your other windows on chilly days. In that case, you’ll need to replace the pane.

 

Similarly, if the moisture is coming in through only one spot — the bottom right corner, for example — then you might have a leak. If you have a wood frame or sill, you may also notice a growing water stain. It’s important to get leaks fixed quickly. There may be water damage occurring within the frame that you cannot see.

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When you’re about to sell your home, it may be disheartening to see so many other properties for sale in your neighbourhood. You may be thinking, “That’s a lot of competition! Will our property get noticed?”

 

Fortunately, there are many proven strategies for standing out in a sea of For Sale signs.

 

First of all, keep in mind that many home purchasers come from the REALTOR’S personal network of buyers who want to move into your area. So, choosing the right REALTOR® is crucial.

 

Second, remember that when there are other properties for sale on your street, curb appeal becomes even more important. There are many simple things you can do to make your property look great to those driving around looking at homes. Make sure your property looks as picture perfect as possible.

 

In a competitive market, it’s also more important than ever to highlight features of your home that are unique and enticing. If, for example, you have a large backyard deck and brand new hardwood flooring, make sure these are mentioned prominently on the feature sheet.

 

Finally, be as flexible as you can be when scheduling viewings and open houses. Don’t forget that other listed properties in your neighbourhood draw in buyers, who may notice your home. It’s not uncommon for a buyer to view a property and then scout the neighbourhood. So, you want buyers to be able to see your home on short notice and at a convenient time for them. If there are several other nearby properties for sale, it means things are hot from a real estate point of view. You want to roll out the red carpet to buyers.

 

Looking for help selling your home quickly and for the best price? Call today! (778) 834-7355

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A pantry is the ideal nook for storing extra food and other items ordinarily crammed into the kitchen. It’s also a nice design feature, as it harkens back to the days of country kitchens with spacious pantries.

 

You might be thinking, “That’s nice, but our home doesn’t have a pantry.”

 

That’s okay. These days, there are many ways to create a pantry in your home – even if it doesn’t have one! Here are just a few suggestions:

 

  • Add shelves to the laundry room. If you have the space, this is the ideal place to create a mini-pantry.

 

  • Purchase a portable pantry. There are many available on the market. Some are even disguised as cabinets you’d expect to see in living and dining rooms.

 

  • Purchase a movable pantry. These units are on wheels and can slide in and out of the kitchen with ease. Some are short enough to slide conveniently under a kitchen table.

 

  • Make use of an unused closet. These are rare in most homes, but if you have a closet that isn’t being used, it can easily be converted into a pantry.

 

As you can see, there are plenty of options available. You don’t necessarily need to build an extra room!

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When considering which of two or more competing offers to accept for your home, there is no doubt price plays a huge role. After all, if Offer #1 is $10,000 higher than Offer #2, that’s an enticing difference that puts thousands of extra dollars in your pocket.

 

However, price isn’t the only thing you should think about when comparing multiple offers. There are other factors you need to consider as well.

 

For example, what conditions are in the offer? If Offer #1 is conditional upon the buyer selling his current property for a specific amount, then what if that doesn’t happen? You could end up with an offer that dies and be forced to list your home all over again.

 

In that circumstance, accepting the lower offer may be your best move.

 

There’s also financing to consider. Most buyers will attach a certificate from their mortgage lender to show that they can afford the home and will likely secure financing with little difficulty. If you get an offer where the ability of the buyer to get financing is in doubt, that’s a red flag.

 

The closing date is another important factor. Offer #1 might propose a closing date that’s perfect for you, while Offer #2 is four weeks later. If you’ve already purchased another home, you might require a month of bridge financing if you accept Offer #2. There’s nothing wrong with that per se, but the costs and additional hassle are factors you should consider.

 

As you can see, assessing competing offers isn’t as easy as it looks. Fortunately, as your REALTOR®, I will guide you toward making the right decision.

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You can’t call yourself a dentist unless you have specific hard-earned credentials. Just about anyone, however, can hang a shingle and call himself a home improvement contractor. That’s why choosing a reputable one is so difficult. Here are some tips:

  • Find out if he or she is truly in business full-time. A part-time or occasional contractor may not have the experience necessary to do a great job.
  • Ask about licenses and other credentials. Some contractors have accreditations from professional and trade associations.
  • Review his or her project portfolio. A reputable contractor will have photos and other evidence of work completed for similar clients.
  • Check online for reviews. If there are more than five poor reviews within the past three years — that’s a red flag.
  • Ask for references. Then, call at least one.

Finally, the best contractors are those that get recommended by people you trust.

Looking for a contractor recommendation? Call today 788-834-SELL (7355)

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Figuring out how much time you should spend viewing properties for sale is a little like asking, “How long should I spend trying on shoes?”

The answer seems obvious: As long as it takes to make a decision!

Buying a home is significantly more complex than purchasing shoes – and the stakes are higher too! You need to make sure you have all the information necessary to confidently make the best decision.

There are basically three stages to viewing a property:

  1. Macro
  2. Micro
  3. Professional

When you view a home on a macro basis, you’re looking at it from an overall perspective. For example, you may do a general walk-through to get a first impression and determine if the property has the basic features you need, such as the number of bedrooms and the size of the backyard.

Macro viewing is often the fastest stage in the viewing process and can sometimes take just a few minutes.

If you like what you see, then it’s onto the micro stage. At this stage you take a closer look at the details of the property. You might, for example, spend extra time in the master bedroom imagining how your furniture would look and fit.

The micro stage takes longer simply because the home is now on your shortlist. You’re interested and are considering making an offer.

Finally, the professional stage involves getting a qualified home inspector to go over the property with a fine tooth comb. That typically occurs after you’ve made an offer.

As your REALTOR®, I will guide you through a viewing so you’ll know what to look for and can make a smart, informed decision. Call today 778-834-SELL (7355)

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Imagine buying a product from a store, taking it home, and then discovering there’s a problem with it. Disappointing, yes, but not a catastrophe. You can simply take it back for repair or exchange.

 

But, what if it’s moving day, and you discover there’s a problem with your new home? Whoa. A house isn’t so easily returned!

 

What are the most common problems encountered on moving day?

 

  • A delay in getting the keys.
  • The seller not having completely moved out.
  • An item expected to be included with the property is missing. (For example, the window blinds.)
  • Something needs repair that was not disclosed by the seller, nor did it come up during inspection. (For example, the dishwasher not working.)
  • Damage to the property caused by the seller. (For example, a heavy item dropped during the move and cracking a floor tile.)

 

Fortunately, these are rare events. In most cases, you can expect no serious issues when you move into your new home.

 

But, if something is wrong, you have options. So, call me immediately at 778-834-7355. In all likelihood, I will be able to quickly resolve the issue.

 

If it’s a serious matter, such as missing items, I may get your real estate lawyer involved to arrange for the return of the item(s) or compensation.

 

So don’t worry. Let the professionals handle it. You can just enjoy your new home!

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Getting Friends to Spread the Word about Your Listing

 

 

When you list your home for sale, you want as many buyers as possible to find out about it. So consider how many friends, neighbours and work colleagues you have. Then think about how many people they know.

 

The number is likely in the hundreds. One of those people could be looking for a property just like yours.

 

That’s why getting your friends to spread the word about your listing is so effective. How do you do that?

 

One strategy is to have a moving party. This gives you an opportunity to ask your friends, as a group, to tell others about your listing.

 

You can also encourage your friends to bring a guest who is currently in the market for a new home.

 

Another good idea is to put a profile of your listing on Facebook. This is the fastest and most convenient way for your Facebook friends to point others to your listing.

 

Do you have friends who work at larger organizations like banks and factories? They probably have access to an employee lunch room with a bulletin board. You can spread the word by asking them to put up an information sheet on your listing.

 

Try one or more of these ideas. Combined with my marketing plan for you, they can help get more qualified buyers to your doorstep.

 

Want more tips on promoting your listing? Call today.

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Important Things to “Fix Up” before Selling

 

 

 

When you’re preparing your home for sale, it’s not unusual to need to fix up a few things around the property. After all, you want your home to look its best to buyers, so that you get good offers, quickly.

 

What do you need to fix? Here are three categories that will help you create and prioritize your list.

 

1. Anything that squeaks or creaks.

 

Is there something in your home that makes a noise it shouldn’t be making? Perhaps it’s a rattling closet door or a creaking floor board? You may be so used to it you no longer notice the sound. But buyers will. Be sure to get those items fixed.

 

2. Anything that’s unsightly.

 

You don’t have to make your home look perfect. However, things that are unsightly will likely get buyers’ attention. You want them to focus on the terrific features of your property, not the scuff on the wall. Take a walk through your property, including the yard. Pretend you’re the buyer. Do you notice anything that doesn’t look good? If so, tidy it up, fix it up or replace it.

 

3. Anything that’s broken.

 

If there’s anything that needs repair — an outside tap that’s not working, or a sliding door that regularly careens off its runner — call the contractor or fix it yourself.

 

Getting these items fixed will go a long way toward making your home appealing to buyers.

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Making an Offer in a Competitive Market

 

Imagine finding a home you love, making an offer, and then finding out there are other competing offers on the table. Ouch.

 

If you’re looking for a property in a competitive market, it is likely that there will be multiple offers. Even just one can create the risk that you’ll lose the home. So how do you make sure your offer is enticing enough to win over the seller?

 

Here are some ideas:

 

• Don’t make a low-ball offer. If you do, it might be dismissed and you probably won’t get another chance to bid — especially if the other competing offers are near the listing price.

 

• Have a pre-arranged mortgage and include that with your offer. This reassures the seller there won’t be any money issues. (Most lenders will provide you with a pre-arranged mortgage certificate for this purpose.)

 

• Go in with a price high enough that the seller will be interested, but not so high as to be leaving money on the table. This is tricky and requires a savvy knowledge of the current market.

 

• Have a REALTOR® present the offer on your behalf. A REALTOR® will know how to do so professionally, and in a manner that gives you the best chance of getting the home.

 

In a competitive situation, working with a REALTOR® who is an expert on the local market — and a skilled negotiator — is crucial.

 

Looking for a REALTOR® like that? Call me today 778-834-7355.

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