Author Archives: Kevin Stokes

The Importance of an Open House

Longer days and warmer weather are great signs that spring has sprung in the Niagara region.  This time of year is also the onset of the traditionally hot NOTL real estate market and a great time to list your home if you have been thinking about it.  One of the most important tools to any home sale regardless of the time of year is the open house.

As your premier agent for all your NOTL real estate needs, here is a detailed list of the importance of open houses as a selling tool for your home.

Set Your Home Apart

An open house allows you to set your home apart from the rest of the homes on the market.  For instance, if you feel that your big backyard is a selling feature, then include it as part of the open house.  A professionally staged home will help your home stand out as will a focus on key selling features such as:

  • Any appliance upgrades.
  • Recent renovations, especially kitchen or bathroom.
  • Freshly painted interior or exterior.
  • Any unique home features such as huge windows, fruit trees, etc.

Here’s the Deal:

Open houses show more than just the house.  An open house allows interested buyers to see the neighbourhood, see what amenities and facilities are in and around your home and to envision their lifestyle not only in your home but in the community.

No Pressure

An open house is also a great way for any prospective buyers to have a look around without feeling pressured for a sale.  A buyer may not even know that they are in the market for a home such as yours until they see it and fall in love with it or certain key features.  The more low key you can make your open house, the better chances you will have of making a sale.

A Social Situation

Usually open houses attract more than one potential buyer so that awkward feel of being the only person in the home is removed.  This takes pressure off any interested party and can really bring a social vibe to an open house as agents can offer casual tours to a group rather than just one party.  This relaxed atmosphere is rarely found in any other situation other than at an open house.

An open house is an effective tool when it comes to attracting a wide range of buyers and more importantly selling your home.  If you have any other questions about open houses or are interested in listing your home on the NOTL real estate market, please contact me today.  I would love to be a part of your sales team and look forward to hearing from you soon.

 

 

 

 

Winter Selling Tips for your Home

Properly staging your home is a great way to take advantage of NOTL’s winter real estate market and beat the spring competition.  A well-staged home is sure to not only showcase and highlight your home, it will also attract a wide range of serious buyers all eager to make a deal.  As your premier agent specializing in the NOTL real estate market, here are some winter staging tips that are sure to make your home look and feel amazing.

Turn up the Thermostat

Nobody likes a cold home.  Before your next open house, be sure to turn up the heat to create a warm, inviting ambiance for interested buyers.  A warm home is not only a comfy space, it will also entice buyers to stay longer, thus increasing the odds of a sale.

Break out the Shovel

By listing your home in the winter, you may not have to focus so much on outside curb appeal, but you are going to have to ensure that all driveways, paths and other spaces are free from both snow and ice.  The last thing that you want is for potential buyers to have to wade through snow to make it to your front door.  Shoveling your driveway and paths is only part of the focus.  Lay down salt or another type of deicer to be sure that no one slips.  You don’t want a lawsuit.

Seasonal Tips

When you are staging your home for a winter sale, there are a few details that you will need to incorporate.  These include:

  • Lay down a few mats at your front door so that all the interested parties attending your open house have somewhere to put their wet shoes. You don’t want your carpets ruined because of snowy boots.
  • You will not be able to show your home with the windows open during the winter. Instead, fill your home with a seasonal scent, such as cinnamon or other warm, inviting smells.
  • Turn on all lights in your home to compensate for the lack of natural light during the winter season. An illuminated home not only showcases your home in its best light, it also gives the appearance of a bigger space.  Be sure to replace all burnt out bulbs before your open house.

Here’s the Deal:

When choosing a scent for your home, do not use air fresheners or sprays.  Not only may some guests be allergic to some of the chemicals in these artificial smells, you also don’t want prospective buyers thinking that you are trying to mask an odour in your home such as mildew or mold.

By properly staging your home this winter, you should be able to attract a wide range of serious buyers.  If you would like more information on any of these or other winter staging tips or are thinking about listing your home on the NOTL real estate market, please contact me today.  I would love to be a part of your sales team and look forward to working with you soon.

 

 

 

 

How to Get the Most Out of Your Winter Listing

Traditionally, winter may not be the ideal time to list and sell your home.  The cold, the snow, the upcoming hot spring real estate market; the reasons not to list your home are endless.  However, as your premier agent for all your NOTL real estate needs, I would like to debunk that myth and tell you why and how to take full advantage of a winter listing.

Less Competition

One of the key advantages to listing your home in the winter is that you are well ahead of the spring rat race and thus will face far less competition in the housing market.  This will not only give you a head start, but it will also allow your home to stand out from the crowd.

Seriously Motivated

The buyers who are going to put on their winter jackets and bundle up to look at open houses are not just lookie-loos but rather serious buyers who are also motivated to take advantage of the pre-spring housing market boom.  There is a wide range of reasons as to why this group of buyers is looking to purchase a home that range from:

  • January is the biggest month for relocations so there are people looking for a new home.
  • New Year resolutions have buyers looking at the New Year as a time for new beginnings.
  • Growing families and year-end bonuses or payouts.

Regardless of the reasons, the buyers attending your open houses this winter are serious and are looking to make a deal.

Here’s the Deal:

It’s never winter on the internet.  With so many potential buyers looking online to either find homes or pair down their home search, the season you decide to list is almost irrelevant in today’s real estate market.

Less Curb Appeal

Another often overlooked advantage to listing your home in the winter is that you don’t have to focus so much on curb appeal.  Instead of having a manicured lawn, weeded garden and flower beds, all you need to do is clear your driveway and walkways of snow.

If your home has a comfy fireplace and a cozy living room, take full advantage of these features during the winter months.  Likewise, if you have invested in energy efficient items such as windows, a furnace or new insulation be sure to showcase it during your open houses.

By listing your home in the winter, you should be able to take advantage of the real estate market before the spring rush begins.  If you would like more information on any of these winter listing tips or are interested in putting your home up for sale on the NOTL real estate market, please contact me today.  I look forward helping you turn that for sale sign into a sold one.

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrating the Holidays in NOTL

The holiday season is one of the most magical times of the year in the NOTL region.  There are so many great choices, amazing activities and festivals to attend that you may want to start clearing your calendar now.  As the premier agent for all your NOTL real estate needs, I would like to highlight some of this year’s can’t miss holiday fun.

Winter Festival of Lights

Perhaps the most spectacular of all the holiday festivals in the Niagara region is the Winter Festival of Lights. Be sure to circle your calendar and capture this magical display of the holidays at Queen Victoria Park and throughout Niagara Falls (November 16, 2019-January 12, 2020).  Some of this year’s featured illuminations include:

  • Dufferin Islands – get out and explore some family favourite illuminations on these walking trails.
  • Toronto Power Generating Station – Watch as this historic structure comes to life as it is illuminated by a spectacular light and sound show.
  • Floral Showhouse – Head inside to this popular holiday tradition to see a full array of Christmas flowers such as poinsettias and azaleas.

Santa Clause Parade

Kick off the holidays with the ever popular Santa Clause Parade on November 16th  at 11 am. This free community event enjoys over 100 entries and begins on Victoria Avenue and travels north towards Queen Street.  After the parade, bring the children down to City Hall to meet Santa Clause.  Be sure to be a part of this popular Niagara event.

Outdoor Christmas Market

Get all your Christmas shopping done early at the Pelham Outdoor Christmas Market.  With a wide selection of arts, crafts and traditional Christmas foods, this is the perfect place to celebrate the romance and spirit of Christmas.  Mark your calendar for Friday, Dec. 6 and be the first in line at the Pelham Outdoor Christmas Market.

Holiday Winery Tours

A true NOTL holiday celebration is not complete without a tour of your favourite local winery or a gift basket for that special someone that includes one or more bottles of VQA wine.  See what dates are available in your holiday calendar and contact one of the local wineries to see when they are offering tours and what those tours offer.  Some of my favourite local wineries and a brief overview of each can be found in the following link:

https://www.niagara-homes.ca/wineries-in-the-niagara-on-the-lake-area/

These are just some of the exciting holiday celebrations that are taking place in and around the NOTL region.  If you would like more information on any of these can’t miss holiday festivities or would like to see some of the new and exciting real estate options that are available in the NOTL area, please contact me today.  I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Happy Holidays from Bosely Real Estate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tips for Hosting a Home Selling Open House

An open house will not only attract a wide range of interested buyers, it will also generate awareness in your home, and in many cases sell your home faster.  As the premier agent for all your NOTL real estate needs, I would like to share the following tips on how you can make your next open house a success.

Run a Successful Advertising Campaign

An effective advertising campaign will guarantee that your next open house is full of interested buyers.  The key to successful advertising is using a wide range of different mediums to get the word out.  These include:

  • Word of mouth – start spreading the word in your social circles that you are hosting an open house.
  • Social media – use your Facebook and Twitter account to advertise your open house throughout your media social circles.
  • Online – advertise your open house on a wide range of realty websites and include the dates on your online listing profile.
  • Canvas the neighbourhood – put up flyers around your neighbourhood that include the date, time and location of your next open house. You may be surprised at the amount of interest and foot traffic this type of advertising offers.

Prepare Your Home

Everyone knows the importance of a well-staged and properly cleaned home.  Some of the other attention to details that will make for a successful open house include:

  • Let in all the light you can by opening blinds and curtains and turning on all the lights in your house.
  • Don’t be afraid to add an extra touch such as a table centerpiece or a vase full of flowers in the kitchen or the bathroom.
  • Move the cars out of your driveway and try to keep the street parking in front of your home open for interested buyers. This convenience will be appreciated by open house visitors.

A Parting Gift

A great way to have your open house stand out among others is to provide visitors with a coloured brochure that highlights some of your home’s key selling features.  This will provide interested home buyers with a visual checklist and keep your home fresh in their mind.  Other points that you may want to include in your brochure include:

  • Your home’s square footage.
  • Any renovations or restorations that you or a contractor may have performed.
  • The year and, if applicable, the builder of your home.

These tips will ensure that your next open house brings in a wide range of potential buyers and will generate interest in your property.  If you would like other tips on how to host a successful open house or have thought about listing your home on the NOTL real estate market, please contact me today.  I would love to be a part of your sales team and help you turn that for sale sign into a sold sign.  I look forward to working with you soon.

 

Get your Fireplace Ready for Winter

A warm fire is a great way to stay cozy this winter.  Not only does a fire provide a certain ambiance, it is also a great way to heat your home on the coldest of days. Regardless of what type of fireplace you have, proper maintenance and upkeep is important to ensure your family’s safety.  As the premier agent for all your NOTL real estate needs, I would like to share the following ways to get your fireplace ready for the winter.

Wood Burning

A wood burning fireplace or stove is a great way to keep your heating bills down this winter and keep your house warm and inviting.  Before starting your first fire, however, there are a few important upkeep and maintenance issues that you will need to address.

Your main concern is creosote. This buildup is responsible for over 25,000 chimney fires annually and is a real safety concern in any home that uses wood heat.  Hire a professional to properly clean your chimney and remove this dangerous material.

Some of the more simple maintenance tasks that you can do at home include:

  • Cleaning the ashes out of the bottom of your fireplace or stove. This will create a better and hotter burning fire.
  • Check the doors for proper seals and look for any smoke leaking through these seals.
  • Inspect the damper to ensure that it opens and closes freely.

Remember:

A well-maintained and properly cleaned chimney and fireplace will not only allow you to enjoy a warm home this winter, it will also keep you and your family safe.

Natural Gas

Gas fireplaces are in many ways more convenient and more efficient than wood burning fireplaces.  Like wood, proper maintenance is an important step for gas burning fireplaces.  They need to be inspected and cleaned on an annual basis.

Hire a professional technician to inspect the ignition system and pilot light, to ensure that the venting and dampers are in proper working order.  They will also test and inspect all fittings and connections and clean the chimney if it is a part of the venting system.

Other maintenance tasks that you should perform at home include:

  • Vacuum and clean out the bottom of the gas fireplace to remove any debris or cobwebs that may plug or interfere with the gas vents.
  • Wipe down the fireplace logs to remove any dust or other flammable material.
  • Check the doors for a proper seal as well as all fittings and connections for any sign (or smell) of leaking gas.

Here’s the deal:

If you smell gas at any time, shut off your fireplace and immediately call a professional so that they can diagnose and fix the problem or leak.

These simple tips will have your fireplace ready for the winter and allow you to enjoy a safe and enjoyable source of heat.  If you would like any other tips on how to get your fireplace ready for the winter or are interested in some of the new and exciting real estate options available in NOTL, please contact me today.

 

 

 

3 New Year’s Resolutions for your Home

Each new year we set personal goals and resolutions; however, have you ever thought about setting some resolutions for your home?  Home improvement goals will make it more efficient, cleaner and a beautiful place to spend time.  As the premier real estate agent for all your NOTL real estate needs, I would like to share the following home New Year’s resolutions with you.

Take the Minimalist Approach

If you are feeling overcrowded in your home, disorganized or just want to reduce the amount of clutter, why not take a minimalist approach?  Over the course of a year (or many years) we tend to accumulate a lot of unnecessary items that can begin to take up the limited space in your home.  Set a New Year’s goal to either reorganize or remove all your excess items.  To start, make three piles that include:

  • A donation pile for the items that you are no longer using, have outgrown or just want to move on.
  • A throw away pile for the items that have either worn out, are broken or are no longer of any value or worth.
  • A recycle pile for the excess paper and electronic items or used batteries that cannot be put into a landfill.

Take the time to go through each room in your home thoroughly and be honest with yourself.

Here’s the Deal:

If you haven’t used an item in a year and it is not seasonal, it probably needs to be put in one of the three piles.

Go Green

A greener approach to your overall lifestyle is a great goal to set, not matter what the time of year.  A greener home will not only help you reduce your carbon footprint, but it may also save you some money in the long run.  Here are some very easy ways to become more energy efficient and save some money this winter.

  • Turn down the thermostat. Try turning down the heat when you go to bed or when you leave the house.  Even turning the temperature of your home down a few degrees will save you money on your next heating bill.
  • Turn off the lights in the rooms that you are not using. This simple tip will save you money and energy.
  • Turn down your hot water tank by a few degrees. You won’t even notice the difference and again, this simple trick will save you money on your next heating bill.

Set a schedule

Time management is always a popular New Year’s goal.  While you are setting schedules for yourself, why not set a schedule for your home as well?  A weekly cleaning schedule is a great way to designate family chores and keep your home in tip-top shape.  Try to break your home cleaning schedule into two parts:

  • Daily chores – tasks such as dishes, dirty clothes and hanging up or putting away clothes can all go under this list or schedule.
  • Weekly chores – vacuuming, cleaning the toilet and bathtub or shower, organizing or picking up a room and taking out recycling etc. can all go under this category.

By setting a schedule and creating lists, you should be able to enjoy a clean and well organized home.  Make it fun and make it an entire family activity.

This New Year’s make sure to set a few goals for your home – you will not be disappointed.  If you are interested in other New Year home goals or would like to see some of the exciting real estate properties that are available in the NOTL region, please contact me today.  I look forward to working with you soon.

Happy New Year.

Tips for Buying in the Spring

Typically, the spring season offers buyers a larger choice and selection of homes, so if you have been looking to get into the Niagara on the Lake real estate market, now is the time.  I would like to share the following tips that will find you your Niagara dream home this spring.

Find the Right Real Estate Agent

When you are looking for that perfect home, it is so important that you find a neighbourhood specialist.  A great understanding of the local real estate market and knowledge of the town and its distinct neighbourhoods cannot be over-stated.  Make sure that your real estate agent:

  • Specializes in the area and has sold other homes similar to what that you are looking to buy.
  • Is well respected and liked by other real estate agents – this will open up a large number of properties to you.
  • Has a great sales record can be recommended by other buyers.
  • Is friendly, professional and hardworking.

Get Pre-approved

Before you decide to go house hunting, sit down with a local bank or lender and see how much you will be pre-approved for.  There is nothing more frustrating when you find your perfect home only to find out that it is too far out of your price range.

Find a mortgage number that you are comfortable with and make sure to not over extend yourself, so that you are house poor.  You want to enjoy your new home, not be stressed out each month by trying to make a payment that you can barely afford.

Be Prepared

Although the spring real estate market brings a larger choice and selection of homes, it can also bring a wider group of potential buyers, which translates into a more competitive market.  Make sure that if you find a property that you like, you are prepared to put in an offer and are prepared to pay list price for that home.  Try not to get hung up on the asking price, but rather focus on what the home is worth to you.

Here’s the Deal:

If you find your dream house at a price that you can afford it will not matter if you pay a few thousand dollars more or less for that home over the course of 25 years.

Focus on the Home

When you are buying a home, make sure to focus on the home and not the sale or the owner.  It is of no importance whether the home is a foreclosure, a short sale or being sold by the original owner.  Rather focus on the location of the home and how that home will serve your needs.

Niagara on the Lake spring real estate market is the perfect time and place for you to find your dream home.  If you would like to see some of the new listings that are available or are interested in living in the Niagara on the Lake area, contact me today.

 

 

Tips for Winterizing your Home

Although the first official day of winter is still a few weeks away, everyone can agree that the winter season is underway.  It is time to get out the wool, scarves, gloves and toques and put those winter tires on your car.  It is also time to turn up the thermostat in your home, and unless your home has been properly winterized, this could mean huge costs in heating and wasted energy.

As the premier real estate agent for Niagara on the Lake, I would like to share the following tips on how you can thoroughly winterize your home and keep heating costs down.

Check for Drafts

Drafts can waste anywhere from 5% – 30% of your home’s heat and can quickly chill even the warmest rooms.  Before the first cold snap, take your time and thoroughly check your home for drafts.  The most common places where drafts can be found are:

  • Under doors
  • Around window frames
  • Around the foundations of your home

Fortunately, drafts are quite easily fixed.  For drafts around windows or in window frames, consider using either weather stripping or if the window is not used or in an out of the way spot, consider taping it over with a clear plastic film.

For drafts under doors or between foundations, place towels or rolled up material to stop the incoming cold air.  You can also think about using a door sweep to provide a more permanent fixture for drafts under doors; especially if you use that door quite often.

Tune-up your Heating System

Just like your car, your furnace will need some maintenance from time to time.  A properly maintained furnace can save you up to 5% in heating costs.  To get your furnace running smoothly it may just need a new filter so have a look.  Remember, a quick filter replacement or an annual furnace maintenance is a lot cheaper than having to replace your furnace.

Remember:

If you do have to replace your heating system, look for an energy efficient model and apply for the tax credits that are offered.

Check your Thermostat

If you do not have a programmable thermostat, now is the time.  A digital, programmable thermostat can save you anywhere from 1% – 3% on your annual heating bill.  The thermostat will pay for itself in the first year alone, so why not make the switch?

By going to a programmable thermostat, you can regulate the heat in individual rooms and only heat the rooms that are being used for the time that those rooms are being used.

Winter in Niagara on the Lake

Winter in Niagara on the Lake is a special time of year and you want a cozy, warm and comfortable home to enjoy all that this season has to offer.  If you would like any other strategies on how to winterize your home or would like to see some of the exciting new properties that are available, please feel free to contact me.  I would love to show you why winter is one of my favourite seasons in Niagara on the Lake.

 

Preparing Your Home for the Fall

Fall is one of the most spectacular season in Niagara on the Lake.  The colours of the leaves combined with beautiful sunny weather and crisp mornings all make fall a special time of year.  Fall is also a great time to take advantage of the mild temperatures and do some much needed prep work on your home.

Here are some tips from the premier Bosley Real Estate team to help get your home in tip-top shape this fall.

Outdoors

Many of the fall preparations that should be done to your home are on the exterior.  Make sure to pick a few gorgeous, warm fall days, head outside and get your home fall ready.

Your focus should be on the eavestroughs and gutters.  It is important that these are free of leaves and other debris to allow for proper drainage.  Clogged gutters can quickly lead to pooling water, flooding or water damage, so make sure they are thoroughly cleaned as to avoid them plugging with the first big fall storm.

While you are up on your ladder inspecting and cleaning your gutters, take the time to inspect your roof as well.

Here are some tips on what you will want to look for while you are up there:

  • Inspect all of the shingles on your roof and make sure none are curling or broken. Usually, shingles should last anywhere from 15-20 years before needing replacement, but it is a good idea to inspect them annually.
  • Look at the flashing between the gutters and shingles to make sure that it is uniform and flat with no damaged pieces. Proper flashing means a watertight seal between your roof and gutters.
  • Take the time to look at all seals and caulking around any vents on your roof. If the sealing looks damaged, replace it.

Finally, get out and rake your yard.  Not only do fallen leaves and other debris look unsightly, they can also pose a safety risk as well as a flooding problem if they clog storm sewers.  Dispose of the leaves in proper recycling bags.

Indoors

Not all of your home’s fall preparation is outside.  There are some very important jobs to do to prepare the interior of your home for fall and the upcoming winter months.

The most important indoor fall preparation tip involves weatherproofing all windows and doors in your home.  Improperly sealed windows and doors are the number one energy waster.  You will want to stop all cold air from entering your home before the chill of winter arrives.

Make sure to inspect the weather stripping on all doors and windows.  If the weather stripping is cracked or brittle, replace it.  Make sure that the new weather stripping is thick enough to provide a proper seal.

Here’s the deal:

For doors, sometime weather stripping isn’t enough, in this case, consider using a door sweep to seal the space at the bottom of the door and keep out that cold weather.

It is also a good idea to ensure that your smoke alarms as well as your carbon monoxide detector are working properly.  Replace any faulty alarms or replace the batteries as needed.

Niagara on the Lake in the Fall

Just one look outside your window or a drive through the picturesque scenery in and around Niagara on the Lake will show you what a special time fall really is in the area and why the region is such a coveted place to call home.  If you would like to see any of the gorgeous homes that are for sale in the area, please call today.  I would love to show you Niagara on the Lake in the fall.