Tara Matthews

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5 Minute Tips: Prep Your Home for Viewing

You have potential buyers coming but you’re already running late for work. What can you do in 5 minutes that will have the most impact?

1. Tidy the foyer / front entrance.

The front entrance is the first impression of your home. Put away your family’s shoes, hats, jackets, mail, etc.

2. Turn on lights and open the curtains.

Brighter homes look larger and more welcoming. Your real estate agent would be happy to turn off the lights and close the curtains after the prospective buyers have left, if you ask them.

3. Give the powder rooms a once-over.

Put the toilet lids down, wipe any hair and toothpaste spills from the sink, and put away toiletries.

4. Remove personal items.

Quickly go through your home and remove personal items such as family photos, bills and jewellery. This will help potential buyers picture themselves making the home their own.

5. Shake off your welcome mat.

Make sure your welcome mat is clean, free of leaves, bugs or other outdoor distractions that have a habit of accumulating.

This quick and easy task list will help you present your home to buyers in the best light, and it will ensure your mind doesn’t wander back to your house throughout the day with worries that you did not leave your home as clean as you could have.


The value of a good walk score

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.”



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.


Open House Questions Some Buyers Forget to Ask



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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