Happy New Year

Cheers to a fabulous 2015.  

Wishing you the best physical and mental health;  a clear path to travel;  plenty of food for the mind, heart and soul - if you have all that it can't help but be the best year ever.


Smart Investments

Which home renos will make you the most money: a kitchen, bathroom or exterior?

A few key upgrades can improve the marketability of your home, increase its value and help to sell it quickly. Here are five renos — from minor to major — worth the effort:


The exterior of a house is its first impression. The roof represents 30% of what is visible, so it can be a big selling point if it’s in good condition, especially on an older home. Black topping a faded driveway will also improve a home’s curb appeal.


Consumer reports show that homeowners see an 85% return on the cost of renovating a bathroom, making it the most important room to upgrade prior to selling. Consider upping a bathroom’s wow factor with luxury features such as marble counters or flooring and high-end showerheads. Replace outdated mirrors and fixtures, and swap coloured sinks, tubs or toilets with white models. Wall sconces positioned on each side of a vanity mirror are more flattering than overhead fluorescent or globe lights. Create a spa-look by sticking to neutral colours for walls and accessories.


You don’t need to install all the bells and whistles of a cook’s kitchen, but replacing older appliances with the best models you can afford will significantly increase the attractiveness of your home. Inadequate cabinets in cheap or trendy materials turn off potential buyers. If yours need to be upgraded, opt for quality finishes, hinges and sliders. Doors should have room to fully open and drawers should pull out smoothly and feel solid. Replace worn countertops with a highly regarded material such as granite, Corian or stone composite in a neutral colour. These add contemporary shine and give kitchens the luxe appearance potential buyers are looking for. Avoid countertop tiles applied with grout, which might need repairs and appear grungy in a couple of years.


Replacing worn carpet or flooring increases the hassle-free quotient of a home. Swapping outdated wall-to-wall carpeting for hardwood flooring or laminate makes spaces look larger and more elegant. Light to mid-tone oak or maple hardwood suits most tastes.


A fresh coat of paint is an easy and cost-effective way to improve a home’s overall appearance. Avoid trendy or bold colours in favour of soft neutrals. The idea is to create a fresh, pristine backdrop in which potential buyers can easily picture themselves and their possessions.

Still need help?

Call, text or email me for helpful advice on improvements that could add value to your home.


reprinted from http://houseandhome.com/design/smart-investments (RRS)

Why is hiring the right Tour/Sightseeing Operator when on vacation as important to having a great time away as is hiring the right Real Estate Agent to ensure a Successful Transaction when you Buy or Sell your Home?

Like many, I spent the holidays with family on vacation.   I noted that, excellent service made for a better vacation - no matter what that service was.  We were fortunate to have been referred to the services on a Tour/Sightseeing Operator who got us from and to the airport, took us on a few excursions, and taught us much about his home country of Costa Rica.


Hiring the right Tour/Sightseeing Operator when on vacation is key to having a great time; just as hiring the right Real Estate Agent to help you buy or sell your home is key to a successful transaction.



You want to work with someone that:


You Trust or Was referred to you by someone you Trust

- the Tour Operator that values the referral will work to prove she/he is indeed the best

  • as your trusted Real Estate Agent I promised the person referring you to me, that I would provide to you, a level of service worthy of their trust.  I will work hard for you to make this journey a success.


Speaks the language

- when the language of a country you are visiting is different from the language you speak this can put you at a disadvantage - finding someone who understands you will make for a better vacation

  • working with a Real Estate Agent who has met with you to gain an understanding of what you want from your home search - ensures you will be speaking the same language - and you will be sure to achieve the desired result


Can answer your questions 

- and if he/she doesn't have the answer, knows what to do to get you the answers

  • I am vested in your home search and will get you the answers you need, so that you can make an educated decision


Knows the area well - works in your neighbourhood

  • I work in your neighbourhood.  


Has established good contacts within the community -

- refers you to a restaurant (service provider) where the service is as great as the service he/ she provides and both the food (the product) and service exceed your expectations

  • I work with reputable reliable service providers - those that I know will provide you with the same high level of service, that you have come to expect from me


Establishes a line of Communication with you 

- keeps you informed - tells you what you need to know to get the most out of the tour

  • Communication is a key to establishing and maintaining a trusted relationship.  I value the importance of being informed and keeping you informed.


Provides Excellent Service 

- explains the benefits of his/her service versus doing it yourself - you will save money in the short run but communication problems, limited knowledge of the area and services puts you at a disadvantage - and may cost more than just money in the long run

  • For all those reasons, I work for you, to provide a level of service deserving of your trust


Takes you to and/or recommends the best places for you to see/eat based on your wants/needs and time lines

  • As your Buyers Agent, I book and show you available properties for sale based on your criteria, budget and time line; as your Listing Agent, I manage the bookings to view your property, mindful of your time lines and needs


Can negotiate the best price for your activities for you

  • I  will assist you through the Negotiation process to ensure you buy or sell your home for the best possible price



If you are travelling to Costa Rica, I recommend hiring the services of Doug Monge, and team of TPV Costa Rica, a Costa Rican born, American ex-pat, who speaks the language and knows the country.  Feel free to call me for more information.



If you are thinking of buying or selling your home.  Just call.  As your neighbourhood Real Estate Sales Representative, I am committed to making the adventure of buying or selling your home a positive experience.

Prepare Your Home for Winter

I came home this afternoon to find my husband on the roof of the house cleaning the gutters, in his sandals (he said they had a better grip).


While I don’t recommend climbing out on your roof to clean your gutters, I do suggest if you haven’t done it yet, you may want to hire someone to get it done - you know you’ll wish you had once the winter weather hits.


We have already had our first taste of cold weather, but there is still time to prepare your home for winter

  • Trim overgrown shrubs away from the house and outside electrical
  • Rake and dispose of leaves and garden waste
  • Wash windows inside and out
  • Check for drafts around windows and doors - replace weatherstripping and re-caulk
  • Clean out gutters to ensure rain and snow drains away from the house; downspouts should extend at least 5 ft from house
  • Shut off exterior faucets - drain water from outdoor pipes, valves, and sprinkler heads
  • Weatherize your lawn mower & prepare the snow blower
  • have a supply of ice melt or sand on hand for steps, walkways and driveway.


Need assistance getting these jobs done please call for a list of reputable service providers.




Whether you are the chaperone for your little ghost or goblin, or the one on door duty greeting the neighbourhood trick or treaters - you should be aware of good Halloween etiquette.


Door Duty

never trick-or-treat alone - if you start together, you stay together

you will probably see some older/bigger kids caught up in the tradition of trick-or-treating 

never enter a strangers home 

never invite children inside to pick out the treats

wear a light coloured costume OR put reflective tape on the costume to make children visible to cars 

keep the driveway and front porch lit (though dimmly for the occasion) and free of tripping hazards

never run across the middle of the street - stay on sidewalks and cross at crosswalks only 

if you are driving through the neighbourhood be mindful of excited little ones that  may run out on  to the road

carry a flashlight


don’t eat any goodies until parents have had an opportunity to inspect them

be cautious of nut allergies and reluctance for parents to allow children to eat items that aren’t packaged

This is my favorite Pumpkin Carving template.   More Templates are available on request.  

Tidy Up the Kitchen as though company is coming


Your house is on the market...

what can you do to make your home more welcoming to potential Buyers? 

Tidy up the Kitchen, as though company is coming for dinner

Clear extra gadgets from all kitchen countertops 

Remove all messages, pictures and magnets from the refrigerator 

Clear away any papers, mail or newspaper that may have accumulated on countertops 

Clear sink, stove and countertops of all dishes, pots and pans

Wipe down cabinets & polish sinks 

Wash kitchen floors 

Air out garbage area with a deodorizer and/or freshener

and if you are really feeling energetic  

Clean all appliances, inside and out 


Oakville: one of the 905's most desired communities

Oakville—one of the 905’s most desired communities with a long-standing tradition of high-end sales—experienced unprecedented demand yet again, setting a new record for home sales over the $1.5 million price point in 2013. One hundred and fifty-six luxury properties changed hands last year, up 19 per cent from the 131 sales reported in 2012. Three hundred and fifty million dollars in luxury real estate was sold in Oakville last year, with the most expensive property—a fully renovated circa-1930 home situated on eight acres, including close to 800 ft. of waterfront—selling for just under $10 million. The town’s priciest condominium, a luxury unit in theheart of Downtown Oakville, sold for $2 million. At present, there are just over 100 properties available for sale, including the highest-priced freehold property, a lakefront estate listed at nearly $16 million.   The most expensive condominium has a sticker price of $6 million. Oakville’s lifestyle continues to attract purchasers from across the province, many of whom are increasingly choosing to lay down roots in the community. The luxury market represents five per cent of all units sold during the year, yet accounts for approximately 16 per cent of total dollar volume.

The town has made a serious investment in infrastructure in recent years, which has contributed to significant growth in new home construction, particularly north of  Highway 5 (Dundas). Enhancements to roads and transportation, combined with the construction of a new,  state-of-the-art hospital, have all contributed to the increased demand for homes in the area.   Single-family properties remain most coveted at the top end, with most  purchasers vying for product located in South Oakville.   Improvements to existing housing stock—through infill and/or renovation—continue unabated in the area,  especially in neighbourhoods in close proximity to the lake.   Evidence of the trend can be found from Bronte to the Mississauga/Oakville town line. Luxury sales in Oakville have experienced solid gains since 2008 when just 64 homes sold over $1.5 million—an increase of 144 per cent. The upward trajectory is expected tocontinue in the year-ahead, bolstered by an improving provincial economy and the benefits of location, location, and location.    

reprinted from Re/Max Ontario/Atlantic Press Announcement January 28, 2014