I recognize these are very hard times for many people. My heart goes out to you. I am practicing safe procedures such as mask-wearing, social distancing and hand sanitizing. I hope our world can get back on its feet as soon as possible.
Winter is coming! If you are thinking of selling your home in these upcoming winter months or just preparing your house for the wonderful season, here are some tips and suggestions for getting your home ready for the market or upkeeping your home for a lovely home and a warm winter.
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.
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.
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 ranges 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.
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.
These tips will be great as a selling point for a potential buyer or for you as a homeowner that would love to save on your heating bill and have a cozier home during the winter months.
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 foundation 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 annual furnace maintenance is a lot cheaper than having to replace your furnace.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Now that you have your home ready for that quick and easy winter sale or now that your home is winterized, cozy and warm you can sit back end enjoy the incredible winter months in Niagara on the Lake. Winter is a special time here in Niagara Falls. Here are some reasons why.
Winter Tips for Selling 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 the 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 de-icer to be sure that no one slips. You don’t want a lawsuit.
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 house in its best light, but 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 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.
Even if you are not planning on selling, these are great ideas to practice for home maintenance and comfortable living.
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.
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.
Some of these events may change or be by online booking due to covid-19 restrictions.
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. 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 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.