When you’re looking for a new home, you want to find one in a great neighbourhood – or, at least, in a neighbourhood that is on the upswing. How can you tell if a particular area is improving? Here are some common indicators:

  • Pride of ownership. Take a walk around the neighbourhood. Do you get a sense that people take good care of their homes? Are the lawns mowed? Is the landscaping trimmed? Are flowers planted? Homeowners are more likely to look after their properties when they like where they are living.
  • Home improvements. Are people investing in their homes? Are they getting their driveways re-done? Their windows replaced? Are there signs of home improvement projects? If so, this is a clear indication that homeowners like the area enough to invest in their properties.
  • Real estate sales activity. Do homes tend to sell quickly in the area? Do they sell for a good price? If so, the neighbourhood is probably in demand. If people want to live there, it's a desirable area.
  • Business investment. Are businesses investing in the surrounding area? Is there an increase in the number of upscale shops, health clubs, restaurants, and other commercial enterprises that often locate near desirable neighbourhoods?
  • Community involvement. Are there signs that the community plays an active role in the look and lifestyle of the neighbourhood? Are there neighbourhood picnics, yard sales and other get-togethers? Check Facebook.com to see if the neighbourhood has a community page.
  • City plans. Find out what plans the city has for the area. Will there be road improvements done in the near future? Are there any major construction projects on the schedule, such as a new school or community centre. Although such projects can be disruptive in the short term, they may improve the neighbourhood – and, as a result, boost the value of any home you buy – in the long-term.

Of course, the best way to find out the desirability of a neighbourhood is to talk to a good REALTOR® who knows the area. Call me today.

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You might have hired a painter, plumber, or renovator several times during your history of home ownership. But how many times have you hired a decorator?


For many homeowners, hiring a decorator is a first time experience. That’s what makes knowing how to choose the right one so challenging.


Here's a tip: Clip photos from magazines of rooms that match the "look and style" you want. Pay particular attention to desired colours, decor, accents, furnishings, and themes.

Then, when meeting with a prospective decorator, see if there's anything in his or her portfolio that matches your clippings. If there is, then you’ll have a good indication that he or she can pull off the look you want.


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Why is it so important to know how much you can afford to spend on a home?

Two reasons.

First, you don't want to buy a property and then find out, only after you’ve moved in, that you can't financially maintain it. That would mean having to resell it under stressful conditions.

Second, you don't want to settle for a property that's less than ideal, when you really could have afforded the "dream home" you've always wanted.

So how do you figure out how much you can afford to pay for your next home?

The first step is to talk to a good REALTOR®. I will help you gain a clearer understanding of how much your current home will likely sell for in today's market. That amount, together with other financial resources you might have (such as savings), will determine your down payment.

The next thing you’ll need to figure out is your mortgage. I can help you find a lender who will take a variety of factors into account – income, credit rating, debts, expected down payment, etc. – to calculate the maximum amount of mortgage for which you qualify.

Say, through the proceeds of the sale of your home combined with your savings, your expected down payment is $90,000. If the lender authorizes a mortgage of $270,000, then you can afford a $360,000 home.

Of course, that doesn't mean you'll need to spend that much. In fact, a home that meets your needs in terms of property type, features, and neighbourhood, may in fact cost you less.

One thing is for sure. A good REALTOR® can work with whatever amount you can afford and show you homes on the market that most closely meet your needs.

Looking for a good REALTOR®? Call me today.

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On April 1, 2013, the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) was replaced by the federal Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the BC Provincial Sales Tax (PST).

The following questions and answers are intended to provide clarity regarding sales of new housing at a high level. For advice about specific transactions and situations, BCREA suggests individuals seek legal and/or accounting advice, as appropriate.

For more information, see:

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Today's stress-filled world leaves us all crying out for rest and relaxation. Making your bathroom the best it can be will generate a 56% better return on investment than the average popular reno.

The goal should be to create a spa-like environment in your bathroom by installing a soaker tub with relaxing jets, or perhaps a new steam shower stall.

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How do you select the best moving company for your needs?

  • Ask for recommendations from friends other professionals in the local real estate industry.
  • Beware of fly-by-night operations. They may seem like a bargain, but you get what you pay for.
  • Does the company provide you with a written estimate and contract? (Beware of movers that just give you a price over the phone.)
  • Ask if they are covered by insurance, and what their policy is regarding lost or broken items. Make sure you receive a copy of their insurance certificate.

Finally, always ask what circumstances would result in extra charges being applied. The number one complaint received about movers by the Better Business Bureau is unexpected extra charges.

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