Category Archives: Blog

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 Niagara on the Lake realty 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.

Happy family with agent realtor near new house.

Millennials: The Next Generation of Home Buyers

The largest percentage of home buyers these days are Millennials.  This is a new generation of couples and families who are looking for features and qualities in homes that are quite different than your traditional home buyer.  To make your home more appealing to this large audience, Niagara on the Lake Realty would like to offer the following guidelines to show you what Millennials are looking for in a home.

It’s What’s on the Inside that Counts

The traditional home buyer loved to think of all the possibilities in a potential home.  A new coat of paint, a quick interior redecoration, or perhaps even a renovation, were all part of the home buying process.

Well, with Millennials all of that is out the window.  Millennials are looking for a move-in ready home.  They have no interest in renovating or changing the colours on the wall.  To make your home more appealing to the Millennial set, I highly recommend that you show your home with a fresh coat of paint and a move-in ready look.

In addition to a move-in ready home, Millennials are looking for a modern feel to their home.  This means an open concept floor plan.  Believe it or not the two most important rooms to Millennials are the bathroom and the kitchen.

Besides an open-concept layout in the kitchen, other modern features that appeal to the Millennial set include:

  • Granite counter tops.
  • Stainless steel appliances and fixtures.
  • A kitchen island.
  • Sleek looking cabinetry.

Here’s the deal:

If you have been thinking about a renovation in your home, I suggest that you spend your money in either the kitchen or the bathroom.  Not only will these changes attract a new set of clients to your next open house, they may also increase the final sale price of your home.

Go Online

A strong online profile is another key to attracting Millennial buyers.  More than 90% of home buyers start their home search online.  This means that without a strong online home profile, you will be missing out on a huge percentage of possible buyers.

Make sure that your online portfolio includes bright, clear photos of your home as well as a brief video of your home that showcases each room in your house.  The entire rationale behind a strong online profile is to bring people to the next open house or to arrange private showings.

Location, Location, Location

The location of a home can be more important than either the modernity, square footage or even the home’s layout.  Many Millennials are looking for homes with access to green spaces, parks and high walkability scores.  Make sure to feature your home’s proximity to major landmarks such as community centres, downtown and trails to peak interest in your home.

Luckily, Niagara on the Lake is one of the most spectacular places in the province and its location is a huge selling feature.  If you would like more information about any of the listings in this special part of Ontario, please contact me today.  I look forward to working with you soon.

3 Tips for Selling a Waterfront Property

When it comes to selling your home, there are always many factors that need to be considered.  Factors such as timing the market, finding the right buyer, getting full asking price and many more.  In the case of unique homes such as waterfront homes, these factors become even more important.

As the top realtor for Niagara on the Lake, I have sold many waterfront homes.  I understand this market and how to find the right buyer for your home.  I would like to offer you these three tips to get full market value for your distinctive home and turn that for sale sign into a sold sign.
Continue reading

Canada Day in Niagara-on-the-Lake

As we all know, the 1st of July is a very special day. Not just because it is the height of summer and all the flowers and leaves are out. Not just because the sun (usually) is out and the smell of BBQ is in the air – though these are all good reasons to celebrate! No, it is because 1st of July is Canada Day! All over the country, people will celebrate this important day in the Canadian calendar and no other place celebrates this day better than Niagara-on-the-Lake!

For quite a few years now, the main Canada Day events in NOTL have been organised by Niagara-on-the-Lake Rotary Club and the Friends of Fort George. For those who don’t know, Fort George is the historic fort on the edge of town that was at the centre of the war of 1812.

This year, Rotary Club got more involved than ever before and will eventually run the entire event. As a member of the Rotary Club, I along with all other members, partners and many volunteers have been involved with helping to run the Canada Day events in town.

As dawn breaks, many of us turn up at Simcoe Park opposite the famous Prince of Wales Hotel to help set up tents, barbecues, griddles, tables, chairs, flags, fences, ice cream stand, coffee and tea making facilities, and the many other things that need to be lay out before the crowds arrive. Roping off parking spaces for deliveries of hot dogs, rolls, burgers, drinks, etc.

This is a BIG fundraiser for Rotary Club as the crowds start to arrive early in the morning and the griddles are heated up, ready to start turning out hundreds of pancakes, maple syrup and sausages for breakfasts. The coffee/tea station is ready to go and the team are working hard to keep up with demand as the line-up grows.

In the background, there is music, bag pipes in the distance, Salvation Army Band, the Simcoe Park Bandstand sets up for some bands arriving later. On the other side of the park, there is a classic car display. The usual crowds who visit Niagara-on-the-Lake on a typical summer’s day, pale into insignificance compared to the crowd we have on Canada Day!

By then, it is around 12:00 and we switch from cooking breakfasts to starting the lunch shift. Burgers and hotdogs are unwrapped and the barbecues are ready to go. Once again, the line- up gets bigger as we work harder and harder to keep up. Ice cream sales are way up as the heat of the day increases. Bottles of water are selling out fast!

About mid-afternoon, the parade begins and the Lord Mayor of Niagara-on-the-Lake makes his way along Queen Street in the back of a convertible, waving at the crowds lining the street as the procession moves into Simcoe Park.

Every year, there is a huge cake, baked by a well-known local bakery that takes its place in the parade. At the end of the route, a big group of people is just waiting for their slice of the cake if there is any room after the breakfast and lunch!

As the afternoon turns to early evening and the crowds start to disburse, heading home or back to their B&Bs, we begin the task of packing up all stuff once more. That is it for another year. Next year, Canada Day will be even bigger and better than this year. It always is.

Niagara on the Lake Realty

The Benefits of Having a Buyer’s Agent

In the United States, the concept of a “buyer’s agent” is commonplace when it comes to purchasing real estate. However, here in Canada, the idea is relatively new. A buyer’s agent can be beneficial to house seekers, as a realtor becomes a personal shopper to a buyer. They can negotiate a house in order to get the best possible pricing and terms.

Continue reading

Heritage Awards

Niagara Residents Receive Heritage Award for Preserving History

Niagara-on-the-Lake real estate sits on land that has been settled for over 200 years. Everywhere you look, you see sites steeped in history. Our community is fortunate to have people passionate about this history. From ages seven to 77 and beyond, our local residents care enough to fight to preserve this history rather than see it fade away forever.

Continue reading