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.






New Year’s Resolutions for Homebuyers

Put away the holiday decorations and get ready for 2020.  It is time to set those resolutions and usher in the New Year’s.  If you have been thinking about buying a new home, then set your resolutions to help you achieve this goal.  As your premier agent for all your NOTL real estate needs, I would like to share the following helpful New Year’s resolutions that will help you find your dream home in 2020.

Ready, Set, Save

Like any big purchase, it is essential to begin saving for a home.  These savings are your down payment and combined with your mortgage will be the total amount that will be used toward the purchase of your home.  The sooner you start saving, the better and the larger your down payment is, the more expensive of a home you can afford or the smaller the amount you will have to borrow.

Get Credit

Another important resolution that will go a long way when it comes time to purchase your home is to develop a strong credit rating.  A strong credit rating is essential when you are looking to get a pre-approved mortgage and it also shows the lender that you are serious and can be trusted.  The stronger your credit rating chances are the lower the interest rate attached to your mortgage.  A strong credit rating is attained by doing the following:

  • Paying off all your monthly bills on time.
  • Paying off the total amount of credit borrowed each month.
  • Never maxing out your credit limit.

Set a Budget

With a strong credit rating and a down payment, the next step is to approach a wide range of lenders and get a pre-approved mortgage.  This amount will depend upon a wide range of variables, but it will give you a better indication of what type of property you can afford.  Try to go with the lender who will give you the lowest interest rate as you will have to pay back the entire amount.

Start Searching

Your down payment and your pre-approved mortgage amount will give you a good indication of the price range of homes that you should be looking at.  When you are viewing homes, be sure to consider your immediate needs as well as your future needs and try to find a home that fits both.  Be sure to find a real estate agent to help you with finding that perfect home as they will be able to show you properties that you may have never considered.

These simple yet effective New Year’s resolutions will have you on the right homebuying track.  If you would like more information on any of these resolutions or are interested in viewing some of the new and exciting properties available in and around the NOTL area, please contact me today.  I would love to help you find your dream home this year.  I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Happy New Year’s from Niagara Homes





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:

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.








Real Estate Terms every Home Buyer should know

Buying a home should be an exciting event, not a stressful and confusing time.  With so many different factors attached to the purchase process, many home buyers seem overwhelmed and even unsure.  As your premier agent specializing in NOTL real estate, I would like to share the following key real estate terms that will help you better understand all the facets of the home buying process and give you ownership from start to finish.

Key Real Estate Terms

Appraisal – An assessment of the value of a property that is based on a variety of factors, including similar home prices in the neighbourhood.

Closing – A final meeting where ownership of the property is transferred from the seller to the buyer.  Typically, the buyer, seller and both real estate agents attend the closing.

Closing Costs – A set of fees attached to the purchase of a property.  These are due before ownership is transferred.  Costs include all lawyers’ fees, title searches and home inspections. These fees are anywhere from 1% – 3% of the property’s original purchase price.

Days on Market – The number of days a specific property has been listed on the real estate market.

Escrow – A time period (30 days or more) after an offer has been accepted by the seller.  During the time in escrow, the property is inspected and appraised.

Foreclosure – A property that has been repossessed by the bank because the owner has defaulted on their mortgage payments.

Gentrification – Renewal and rehabilitation projects in an urban area that changes the demographics.  These areas typically see property values rise.

Home Inspection – An inspection of the various systems of a property (pipes, structure and electrical etc.).  This inspection takes place when the home is in escrow.

Homeowners’ Insurance – A policy that protects the owner’s contents, belongings and structure of the home.

Listing Price – The price of the property set by the seller.

Multiple Listing Service (MLS) – A database used by real estate agents that lists homes for sale.

Property Taxes – A tax that is based upon the value of the property. This tax is a municipal one that helps fund services such as sewer, water and garbage collection.

Walkthrough – The final inspection of a property done before the final closing date.

Key Purchasing Terms

Down Payment – A percentage of a homes’ purchase price that the buyer must pay.  A down payment is not part of the mortgage.

Equity – The percentage of the home’s overall value that the homeowner has paid off. The bank (lender) owns the rest.

Interest Rate – The cost attached to borrowing money (the mortgage).  The interest rate of a mortgage is set by the lender.

Mortgage – The type of loan that is used to secure payment of a home.  A mortgage is paid off over a specific period through set payments.

Mortgage Broker – A lender who works for the buyer to secure a loan (mortgage) either through a bank or another lending institution.

Pre-Approval – The total amount of money (mortgage) the buyer is approved for.  This amount is based upon the borrower’s credit score, their assets and the borrower’s income.

Principal – The outstanding balance of the loan (mortgage).  With each payment, the mortgage’s principal is reduced.

By understanding the language associated with purchasing a home, you will be able to be an active agent throughout the entire process. If you have any questions or would like clarification on any of these terms, please call or stop by.  I would love to help you find your perfect home and have a large inventory of exciting real estate options available in the NOTL region.  I look forward to working with you soon.


Common Home Selling Mistakes and How to Avoid Them – Part 1

Have you been thinking about putting your home on the NOTL market?  Properly listing your home may be a little more complicated than you think, especially if you want to sell it for full market value.  As your premier agent specializing in the NOTL real estate market, I would like to discuss these common selling mistakes and how you can avoid them.

Lousy Photos

The importance of an effective online real estate portfolio cannot be understated.  Over 90% of potential home buyers find their home or at least narrow their list of potential homes online.  One of the most common selling mistakes is not representing your home with proper photographs.  Do not use dark or poorly lit photographs.  You will also want to stay away from unfocused and crooked or uneven pictures.  Instead, use crisp, well lit and clear photographs that capture the true essence of your home.

Here’s the deal:

If you want to sell your home quickly and at market value, you may want to hire a professional photographer or work with your real estate agent to take pictures that will not only be eye-catching but are sure to showcase your home on your online portfolio.

Improper Staging

A poorly staged home is a home that is not going to sell as quickly or at full market value.  Any potential buyer wants to envision their lifestyle and their belongings in your space.  If they cannot, you will be losing potential sales.  To effectively stage your home, you will want to do the following:

  • Depersonalize your home. Take down family photos and other personal belongings.
  • Move most of your furniture into storage so that each room showcases as much of its floorplan as possible.

Be sure to work with your real estate agent to come up with a staging plan before your next open house.  It can mean the difference between closing or another week on the NOTL real estate market.

No Repairs

Before listing your home, be sure that your entire home is in proper working order and is not in need of any repairs or upgrades.  No potential buyer wants to purchase a home that is full of repairs or is going to use these repairs as a bargaining chip.  If you want a fast sale at full market value, be sure to have your home in tip-top shape before putting it on the market.

These common selling mistakes can drastically affect the sale of your home either monetarily or the length of time that it sits on the market.  If you would like more information on these common pitfalls or have been thinking about listing your home on the NOTL real estate market, contact me today.  I would love to be a part of your sales team and look forward to working with you soon.

Is Summer a Good Time to Buy a Property in NOTL?

Summer is not only the best season in NOTL, it is also a great time to buy your dream home.  With so much to see and do, it is hard to believe that you can fit house shopping into your summer schedule – however, buying a home in the summer does have many advantages.  As your premier agent specializing in NOTL real estate, I would like to share the following tips to help you buy that perfect home this summer.

More Choice

Summertime means choices.  One of the key advantages of buying a home in the summer is the increased inventory.  This increased selection of homes can be attributed to the following factors:

  • Nicer weather and longer days mean more potential buyers are looking at homes.
  • A more flexible schedule with less events means more free time to view homes.
  • A mutual interest by both sellers and buyers to move their belongings during the warm dry weather.

The summer months are the perfect time to buy your home.  With all the extra inventory you should be able to find the home that meets and even exceeds everything that you are looking for.

Are you Ready?

Added inventory and warmer weather means more competition on the NOTL real estate market.  Before beginning your house hunting activities, make sure that you have been pre-approved for your mortgage.  Once you find that perfect home, you will want to move fast and put in an offer.  By moving quickly and having a pre-approved mortgage, you should be able to beat the competition and avoid the dreaded bidding war.

Count the Days

When putting in an offer on a home, it is a wise idea to look at how many days that specific property has been on the market.  If the home has been on the market for over 60 days, chances are the seller is going to be willing to negotiate.  By paying attention to this number, you may be able to land your dream house at a deep discount.

Go with the Right Agent

The right real estate agent can make all the difference in the world.  When choosing an agent, be sure that they have years of experience and are knowledgeable of not only the area and its neighbourhoods but with any quirks in the local market.  The right real estate agent should not only be able to help you find your dream home this summer, they should also be able to help you get you a fair deal as well.

These tips should help you buy your NOTL dream home.  If you would like other tips on buying a home this summer or would like to see some of the new and exciting properties that are available in NOTL please contact me today. I would love to help you find your perfect home this summer.  I look forward to hearing from you soon.


Plant Your Family Flowerbed Today

A bright and colourful flowerbed is a great addition to any yard.  Not only does it complement the landscaping, it is an engaging family activity that will get your kids outside.  As the premier agent for all your NOTL real estate needs, I would like to share the following tips on how to get started on your family’s flowerbed today.

A Fresh Start

Weed free and debris free soil is a must if you are going to grow a vibrant and healthy flowerbed.  Before doing any planting, take the time to remove weeds or other plants and sift through the soil to remove rocks, sticks or other items.  Now it’s time to add a bag or two of top soil to provide extra nutrients.

Pick your Plants

Once you have properly prepared and weeded your bedding soil, it is time to go to your local nursery to pick out the flowers and plants that you will be adding to your bed.  Try to choose a wide variety flowers so that you will not only enjoy a host of colours, you will also be able to admire your flowers throughout the spring and summer.


As soon as you have unloaded your flowers from your car, be sure to thoroughly water each flower as any type of transportation will add stress to your delicate plants.

Proper Planting

When planting your flowers, pay specific attention to each flower’s tag.  This tag will provide the following important information:

  • The total size the flower will grow to – this is important because you will want to plant the larger flowers in the back of your bed so that they do not overcrowd the smaller flowers.
  • How much sun and water each flower needs.
  • Proper planting space and depth.

By following the instructions on these tags, you should be able to plant and enjoy a healthy and vibrant flowerbed for the entire summer season.

Family Fun

After planting your flowers, it is important to water your flowerbed.  Transplanting flowers can be hard on the delicate root systems, so to give them a head start and make sure that they have ample water.  Once the initial work has been completed, you can put together a routine that includes the entire family.  This routine should include:

  • A regular watering schedule.
  • A consistent weeding routine.
  • Any other sporadic maintenance that may be needed such as removing dead flowers.

A flowerbed is a great way for you and your family to get outside and enjoy your yard this spring.  It will teach your kids responsibilities and foster a sense of ownership and accomplishment.  If you would like other tips on how to create a fabulous flowerbed or are interested in viewing some of the new and exciting properties that abound in NOTL, please contact me today.  I look forward to hearing from you soon.



Increase your Home’s Curb Appeal with These Simple Steps

Thinking about listing your home this spring?  One surefire way to attract attention to your home and get it to stand out in the NOTL market is to increase its curb appeal.  As the premier agent for all your NOTL real estate needs, I would like to offer you the following tips on how you can improve the look of the exterior of your home.

A Fresh Coat of Paint

A fresh coat of paint on your home’s exterior is a great way to increase your value and appeal.  Any potential buyer will appreciate a newly painted home and it is a definite selling feature.  If a new coat of paint is not in your budget, there are smaller jobs that will also increase your home’s curb appeal.

  • Repaint the trim around your doors and windows and other accent areas on the exterior.
  • Paint your door. Add a splash of colour to your door to make your home a stand out.  This year’s popular colour choices are red and yellow.

Clean Up

The most inexpensive way to increase your worth is by dedicating a weekend and cleaning up your yard and the exterior of your home.


When cleaning up the outside of your home, you will need to do more than just mow the lawn and sweep your driveway.

  • Wash the windows both inside and out.
  • Check for any damaged siding, or any areas that are in need of re-caulking.
  • Power wash your home’s exterior, driveway, walkways and fence. Be careful not to damage the caulking around your doors and windows or your roof’s shingles.

Added Details

Adding a few details to the exterior is another way to increase its value.  Some simple yet effective additions or changes include:

  • Replace or repaint your mailbox.
  • Add shutters to your home. Shutters are an effective way to break up a rather bland exterior wall while at the same time make your windows look bigger. To maximize their effect, try choosing a colour that contrasts that of your home’s exterior.
  • Plant flowers in your front yard or add planters and hanging baskets to the entrance and porch.
  • Replace or repaint your house numbers and exterior light fixtures.

These simple yet effective tips will greatly improve your home’s curb appeal and make your home more attractive to prospective buyers.  If you are interested in other ways to improve the look of the exterior of your home or are thinking about listing your property on the NOTL real estate market, please contact me today.  I would love to be a part of your sales team.  I look forward to working with you soon.