Part 1 is the Staging Consultation. Whether Occupied or Vacant, the Home Stager will meet with the homeowner and go room by room to address the current condition of the home. We will provide a full, detailed report with recommendations for the homeowner to complete in order to prepare their home to be listed for sale. This could include, and is not limited to, painting, cleaning, de-cluttering, updating, neutralizing, depersonalizing, organizing, reconfiguring and removal of furniture and accessories, exterior, landscaping and curb appeal improvements. We are able to walk through the home with “Buyers eyes” and make you aware of the things that buyers will notice. The report also includes an Open House and Showing checklist for the homeowner to refer to before their home is viewed by potential buyers. We will also include a proposal outlining the investment of going forward with showcasing the home.
Part 2 is Completing the Recommendations. The homeowner is responsible for completing the recommendations outlined for them in the Consultation Report. This crucial step prepares the home for part 3 of the Home Staging process. It is important to address any repairs or updates needed to improve the overall condition of the home. If necessary, the Home Stager can supply the homeowner with a list of tradespeople who can assist them in completing these tasks.
Part 3 is Showcasing the Property. This is when the Home Stager returns to the home and completes the transformation. A team of Home Staging Professionals will go to work placing furniture, artwork, accessories, lighting and other necessary design elements to showcase your home at its best and brightest. We use our training and experience to highlight your home’s best features in order to attract the best buyers who will bring you the best offer. We take into account how each room will show in MLS photos as well as how buyers will navigate through the home during showings and Open Houses.
In occupied homes, we are able to work with the homeowner’s existing furniture and accessories to better market each room. We are also able to bring in an assortment of pieces if necessary.
In vacant homes, we are able to supply all furniture and accessories necessary to showcase the home.
Showcasing can be completed throughout the entire property or just the impact rooms, meaning we can work with all different budgets.
Here are a few things that you should keep in mind if you’re planning on being away for the Holidays.
1. Arrange for a relative or neighbour to come into your house every 24hrs in the winter
2. Have the person checking your house run the water and flush the toilets
3. If you plan on being away for more than a week in the winter, it is recommended that turn off your main water supply. This doesn’t take the place of someone checking on the house, and don’t forget to let them know that you have shut the water off so that they don’t suspect a pipe-freeze
4. Ask a neighbour to put some garbage out in front of your house on garbage day
5. Have someone bring in flyers, newspaper and mail, or have your mail held for the time you’ll be away
6. Set timers to activate lamps in several rooms, especially those that can be seen from the front and back of the house
7. Arrange for someone to shovel your sidewalk and driveway if it snows
8. Offer your driveway to neighbours to park visiting cars
Remember anything you can do to make your house look occupied will be a deterrent to criminals and offer you peace of mind while you are away.
Mark Carruthers is a Registered Insurance Broker with Pioneer Insurance Brokers in Kitchener, Ontario.
If you’re thinking about buying your next home or your first home, a wish list can be very helpful to me as your realtor. When I search for properties for buyers, I am able to drill down a little further and get more specific with a home than a consumer is able to view on realtor.ca, so by sending me your wish list, I can make sure that properties that have what you are looking for are sent to you immediately.
In Kitchener Waterloo, on any given day there are over 1200 homes listed for sale, by sending me your wish list, I’m able to narrow that amount of listings down to a manageable amount and show you the homes most fitting to your needs and block out any of the white noise from properties that just don’t fit.
When making your wish list I do suggest that your items are categorized into items that you NEED to have and items that you WANT to have and items that would be NICE to have. This will allow me to meet all your needs immediately, such as number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, price, and location.
Once I’ve met your needs on a home, I then look for wants, such as finished basements, size of garage, white cabinets in the kitchen, I know that when you are looking for your 2nd, 3rd or even final home, the wants are very specific, since you’ve lived with items you have hated in the past. Please don’t be shy when providing me with those wants, this is your home and I’ve been tasked to find it and don’t worry, I will!
Once we’ve found a home that has all your needs and your wants (if it fits the budget) then we can look at the nice to haves, I often look at the nice to haves as items that add value to the home that you are purchasing, but they are also items that if you needed to add them later, you could. This could be something like a hot tub, a certain type of flooring, maybe even a finished basement (depending on your handy skills). The nice to have items I often don’t search for in the search criteria, but would be sure to point them out when choosing between more than one home.
I do caution first time buyers not to go too overboard on your needs and wants, remember to keep your budget in mind so that we can find a realistic home. If you happen to have a lot of needs and wants, by all means include them so I can look for the dream house, but all choose your top 3 in each category, these are items that you could not live without! I also like to remind first time buyers that in some cases, the place they are renting or even their parents’ home may be nicer than their budget allows, but not to worry about size all the time, believe me, when you own your own home, no matter how small it is, you will make it yours and feel so happy to have your first home.
When I look back now to when we were looking for our first home, I cringe to think of the things we would have settled on, but I know we would have still been blissfully happy…for a few years. If your plan for your first home is more than a few years, please let me know that, I can assist with getting a home with better resale value down the road and one that will allow you to enjoy it now and your returns later when you sell.
No matter which stage in the home buying process you are, send me your wish list and share all your dreams with me, my job is to make those dreams a reality. I look forward to seeing your wish list and helping you in the future.
Most homes that are listed for sale are still lived in by the Seller until the home is sold; however many homes are now listed after the Seller has already moved out and into their new home. The biggest mistake these Sellers make is trying to sell the home while it is empty. Vacant homes feel cold, boring and uninviting and because of this they take much longer to sell. Buyers are not wowed when they tour the home and cannot visualize how they will live in the space.
If you are planning on selling your vacant home, your next step is to hire a professional Home Stager to showcase the property at its best. Here are 8 reasons why you should stage a vacant property:
1. Empty Rooms Appear Smaller Than They Truly Are
Many people think an empty room will look larger however the reality is they actually feel smaller.
Potential Buyers may think their furniture won’t fit in the key rooms of the home and cross your property off of their list. When Buyers start questioning a home, they usually walk away.
People are visual – if the rooms feel small, written dimensions won’t change their minds. Show them a full living room set can fit in the living room and a full queen bedroom set can fit in the master bedroom.
2. 90% of People Cannot Envision Furniture in an Empty Room
Home buying is an emotional process – emotions are evoked through seeing the total package, not by empty rooms which feel cold, lonely and uninviting.
Buyers will miss out on the true potential of each room without a visual presentation of the space.
Don’t narrow down your potential Buyer pool to only 10% of the people coming through the door.
3. Staged Homes on Average Sell 70% Faster Than Un-Staged Homes
When selling your home, the goal is to sell it for as much money as possible and as quickly as possible. The longer your home sits on the market, the less money you will make on the sale.
When a home has been on the market for awhile, Buyers and their Realtors will wonder what is wrong with the home or the area and may even skip over it when setting up showings.
If a vacant home is not selling, the price continues to be lowered in order to entice Buyers, as that is the sole marketing tool. The investment to stage your home will always cost less than your first price reduction. Don’t leave money on the table when selling your largest asset.
4. Staging Puts Money in Your Pocket
According to The National Association of Realtors, staged homes typically see an 8-10% return on a 1-3% investment.
When Buyers see an empty house, they think the Seller is desperate to sell and they lowball offer. Do you want to attract serious Buyers with serious offers or bargain hunters?
Staged homes can usually support a higher list price. Many times after a property is staged, the Realtor will increase the asking price as the features of the home have been enhanced and the overall presentation of the property is better.
Studies have shown that Buyers are willing to pay a premium for a home they have fallen in love with. Sometimes this means they will even pay more than the asking price.
5. Staged Homes Photograph Better
Over 90% of today’s Buyers start their home search online. Photos of empty spaces do no wow anyone.
If a Buyer is unimpressed by your home from the online photos, it is less likely they will even set up a viewing of it. Don’t lose Buyers before they even come through the door.
Many homes today are purchased by foreign investors who solely view a property online. Don’t ignore this market. (Think this doesn’t happen in your neighbourhood? Think again. Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge are all listed within the top 5 investment towns in Ontario.)
6. Staging Draws Attention Away From Any Flaws & Focuses Buyers’ Attention on the Architectural & Selling Features of the Home Instead
In a vacant home, normal wear and tear will become magnified. Buyers will notice every tiny imperfection and focus on them instead of the great features of the home.
Home Staging redirects the Buyers’ focus to the selling features while visually diminishing the flaws.
Buyers are looking for reasons to be able to offer less money for your home – don’t give them any.
7. Staging Creates a Lifestyle That Appeals to the Home’s Target Demographic of Buyers
Like all types of sales, Real Estate has target demographics and markets. In order to secure a sale, you must know your demographic and ensure you market to them effectively.
People don’t buy houses, they buy homes. They shop for houses with logic, but buy homes on emotion. Vacant houses feel lifeless and cold, making it difficult for Buyers to feel an emotional connection. By staging your home to appeal to the target demographic, you will evoke the emotion that will lead to the sale.
Buyers only take 10-15 seconds to make a decision about a space! If the property is vacant, there is nothing to keep them interested in staying longer and nothing memorable about it after they leave. Staged homes give Buyers something to stay and talk about. The longer you can keep a Buyer in the home, the better the chance they will find features that they like and visualize themselves living there.
8. Staged Homes Sell Faster in Slow Markets & for More Money in Hot Markets
Home Staging has consistently proven to add value to any home.
Don’t help sell the house down the street! Ensure your home shows at its very best, target your demographic and outshine your competition.
Treat the sale of your largest asset as a real business transaction, because it is one.
Home Staging is a smart investment that is crucial for selling vacant properties. It is a proven marketing tool that brings real results – higher sales in shorter amounts of time. By not staging your vacant property, you are risking having it sit on the market, reducing the asking price, and having it become stale – ultimately costing you much more than the investment for staging ever would.
Often times when I view a home for the first time during the staging consultation I see rooms painted in bright colours. Accent walls, matching trim, I’ve even seen colourful ceilings! Sometimes the colours work beautifully in the space, highlighting the furniture or artwork that the homeowner has. Other times the colours just aren’t the right hue and don’t work with the fixed elements in the room (cabinetry, built-ins, flooring, etc.)
Regardless if the colour works in the space or not, when it comes to selling your home, neutral colours are best. Bright, bold colours can really take over a room and can be the only thing people take away from that room. They will forget how many windows the room had – “Did it get a lot of natural sunlight?”; How big the room was – “Would our 9 piece dining room set fit in that space?”; Fixtures that will be purchased with the house – “Was there even a chandelier?” Potential buyers will walk away only remembering the bright red walls, and possibly the fact that they hated them. To sum it up, bright colours can be a distraction from what you’re really trying to sell in the space.
When I recommend to a homeowner that walls should be re-painted a neutral colour I often get different responses. A common response is...”But I LOVE this colour! I chose it myself! I get so many compliments from all of my friends!”
Usually the problem isn’t the actual colour itself. I tell them to definitely use that colour in their next home since it’s a fantastic colour. It goes back to the difference between Interior Decorating and Home Staging. What works for Decorating doesn’t always work for Staging. Decorating is about making a room appeal to the homeowner where Staging is about making a room appeal to a broad range of potential buyers who likely have different tastes than the current homeowner. We are also focused on drawing attention to the selling features of each room – size, architectural details and updated finishes. These things can easily get lost when the wall colour in the room takes center stage. Remember – potential buyers coming through your home are on average only spending a minute looking at each room. They will remember what grabbed their attention first, and that’s usually the paint colour if it’s not a neutral colour.
The other response I often get is that it is way too much work to re-paint. That the colour is too dark, it would take primer plus extra coats of paint, that the room is too large, the ceiling is too high and sometimes I hear that they just don’t want to pay for it.
Painting is the most cost-effective investment you can make in your home that will make a huge difference. By painting your walls a neutral colour, you are making your home move-in ready. No matter who buys your house, they will be able to move their furniture in and not have to worry about it clashing with your previously selected paint colours. Today’s buyers want move-in ready homes and are willing to pay extra for them. Purchasing a home today isn’t easy, and many buyers are maxed out financially just buying the property. They have no budget left for updates, including painting. Also, if you think it’s too much work to re-paint – so will the buyer. They will skip over your house to buy one that is already move-in ready.
When it comes to selling your house, it’s best to repaint in neutral colours before listing the property. Save the bold colours for your next home.
Your Couch is a Beast, is it affecting the sale of your home?
Is your couch so large that it's affecting the sale of your home? We all know that we want the largest, softest, most comfy couch when we veg out and watch TV. Cuddled up with our blankets, popcorn bowls, books, remotes, dogs and kids, the need for a large couch space is apparent, but is your beast of a couch slowing your home sale?
Often I find clients trying to fit their furniture in the home for sale and if the furniture in their potential new home is much larger than what they have, they will find it hard to think that their furniture will fit. Less truly is more, letting people know that there is room for a full couch and a loveseat is great, but they don't need to see your mammoth couch and 2 more matching lazy boys too!
Here are some tips on picking the right couch for the space that you have:
If you have high ceilings, choose a couch with a tall back or oversized back cushions to help soften the rooms starkness
If you have a small living space, try an apartment sized sofa, or a loveseat paired with 2 chairs to give a conversational space, odds are that people won't notice it's not a full sized couch if it's laid out right
If your space is open and you have it broken into 2 room spaces - consider a sectional couch if the space is large, it will help your mind break up the space into 2 different rooms and make it feel more spacious, there is nothing worse than an open concept home with too much furniture
If you have a lot of furniture, consider removing it for selling your home, take out that bulky couch and matching chair, they take up too much space and probably look worn anyways - that's why they are so great for relaxing, but that worn in look doesn't sell homes.
If you need to rent furniture to make your space work , the small cost for the month that you may need to rent will pay off. The better your home looks, the quicker it sells and the quicker you can go back to regular life and well, packing!
Do you love showing off your knowledge? Trivia night is a great way to pool your useless knowledge with that of your friends and maybe win some prizes and of course respect! There are lots of spots in KW to get your trivia on, some are general knowledge, some is on a specific topic or show, any way you like it, KW has you covered for trivia!
Here are a few spots where you can get your Trivia & Drink on!
Hosting something almost every night, Descendants hosts a TV and movie themed trivia on Tuesday nights and a general trivia on Wednesday nights. Make sure to check their calendar here (https://www.descendantsbeer.com/eventscalendar) to know what night you’ll be able to go an crush it!
Steve is by far the best trivia host in town and he does it in a few different locations! He’s worth checking out at any of these spots, he does a general trivia and usually with a music component too. You can usually find him 3 days a week at these local watering holes.
It’s a board game spot that also have trivia, so you can play games while you wait for the games to start! They have trivia more than once a week sometimes and it’s general or specific, check them out online to find out when you can crush it at Trivia!
If you’re looking for a tournament style trivia, Jeff and Miranda run an 8 week trivia game, it runs on Tuesday’s & Wednesday’s, located at Abe Erb, one night in Kitchener, one night in Waterloo. Your team can attend their trivia nights and accumulate your scores over the 8 weeks to be crowned the ultimate victor! For dates and times and locations
Where to find Pools & Splashpads in Kitchener/Waterloo
Looking for something to do with the kids this summer? Kitchener Waterloo has you covered with indoor & outdoor pools and splash pads all over the region so you can enjoy all the fun this region has to offer! Click on each pool heading for more info on programs, hours, camps and other great info about each pool!
Since 1931, Harry Class pool has been the place to be for Kitchener
residents on a hot summer day. This large outdoor pool features a two-story waterslide and one meter diving board. On-site change facilities are available for pool visitors. Programming includes swim lessons for all ages, as well as daily public, family and lane swims.
Idlewood Community Pool is Kitchener's best kept secret. This beautiful outdoor community pool, nestled in quiet green space is ready for you to explore. The pool features a lane area as well as a small slide and expansive shallow area ideal for young families. It is within walking distance from many Kitchener neighbourhoods, but also provides bike racks and extensive parking.
Hundreds of residents visit Kiwanis Park pool daily during the summer months to enjoy the serene outdoor space, including summer camp programs from the park and from surrounding areas. In addition to the lake-like design, the new pool now has a spray feature so that even the youngest park visitors have a place to cool off.
Wilson pool is ideal for young families as it is equipped with a large shallow end, and provides registered lessons, drop in lessons and public swims. The pool is located right beside a large park and playground, and is a great spot to book a birthday party!
Breithaupt Centre is a fully accessible, multi-use facility, featuring a 25-yard pool, a warm water pool, gymnasium, solarium and several rooms to accommodate small to large events.
The centre offers registered programs, drop-in, pay-as-you-play gym programs, summer and March break camps, a snack bar, swimming lessons for all ages, recreational swims and aquatic fitness - activities for everyone to enjoy.
With plenty of free parking and the convenience of public transport nearby, Breithaupt Centre is the ideal place to spend part of your day.
As a part of the Grand River Recreation Complex, Lyle Hallman Pool offers lessons for all ages as well as weekly classes, lane swims and recreational swims in a clean, bright space.
The water slide is a very popular feature and is included in the admission price. Bright colours, palm trees, skylights and large picture windows, makes every trip to Lyle Hallman pool a mini vacation.
The Swimplex has a variety of pools, a diving tower, springboards, a waterslide and a splash area for children. Male, female and alternate-needs change rooms are available.
It's open year-round with the exception of an annual maintenance closure in September. Drop-in and registered swimming programs are available.
There are various splash pads located around the region in local parks and spaces to cool off this summer, here's a list to get you out and exploring!
Breithaupt Park splash pad, Breithaupt Park, 806 Union St.
Centreville Chicopee splash pad, 141 Morgan Ave.
Chandler Mowat splash pad, 222 Chandler Dr.
Doon Pioneer Park splash pad, 150 Pioneer Dr. (closed for community centre renovations for all of 2019
Kingsdale splash pad, 78 Wilson Ave
McLennan Park splash pad, 901 Ottawa St. S.
Vanier Park splash pad,329 Vanier Dr.
Victoria Park splash pad, Courtland Ave. W.
Waterloo park Splash pad, 50 Young St West, Waterloo
The boardwalk Shopping Centre – Waterloo
Kiwanis Park – spray feature – 1000 Kiwanis Park Dr
Stephanie Catcher at 9:42 AM
Your Photos are Distracting
Wednesday, June 5, 2019
Your Photos are Distracting
We’ve all heard that your home needs to be devoid of personal photos when your home is for sale, but do you know why? There are lots of reasons why your personal photos can affect the sale of your property. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen buyers more interested in the family photos on the wall then in the space of your home. I often hear comments such as “oh I think I know them” or “Look at that Mullet! Come here honey and look!” Not only are they distracting themselves, but their spouse as well and now neither of them is looking at the home. I can tell you that I’ve been guilty of the exact same thing with funny family photos, but when I ask a client later what they thought of a certain home; they almost always forget what the features were of the homes with the photos.
Your photos may not only be distracting but can give away your motivation for moving, possibly you were just married and there is only one person on title of the home. As a real estate agent/Investigator, I’m able to determine that most likely this home is not the preferred home of the recently married spouse and that he/she is motivated to sell this house to get into a home that belongs to both of them to start their newly married life. Some family photos can show how many kids you have and how old they are, from that I can tell if a family needs to move since they no longer fit in the home. Even if they have done a great job de-cluttering to make the home look spacious, the number of people in a home can tell me they are motivated to move for extra space.
A handful of times I have found art to be just as distracting. In those times, it has been extreme. For example I was in a home where to artist was the owner and every square inch of the walls was covered in her art and self-portraits, while the art was well done, it was too much and we ended up counting the number of art pieces in the home which totaled over 70 on the walls.
Another distraction can be the family calendar, some families write very detailed items on their calendars, often very personal details. I would suggest that all personal items be put away, photos, calendars, artwork and anything else that may distract the buyers or give any insight as to your motivation to move.
Let’s be serious, we all dream about donuts and there has been a real uprising of these tasty fried treats in the past few years! When I was a child getting a dozen donuts from a smoke-filled Tim Hortons that used to bake their donuts on site was a special treat! Thankfully today we’ve given up on those Smokey coffee shops, but of course the mass production of those donuts has ruined it for me. Choosing a dozen donuts from behind a glass case still brings
excitement and Red Eye Café in Cambridge is bringing back that joy! I always pick my donuts based on which one I want to eat the most, which is usually the one I save for last. While I will always love those classic honey cruellers and coconut donuts from Tim Horton’s, there are some new donuts on the scene that have really taken over my sweet tooth lately!
Red Eye Café and Donuts in Cambridge is really putting an incredible twist on those classic donuts we all know and love and improving them in ways I never knew I needed! Their apple fritters are to die for, their base donut which they fill with lots of different cream options and glaze with unique offerings are so fluffy and fresh that I don’t even know what other donuts taste like anymore, all I know is not as good!
They change up their donut offerings monthly, so you’ll never get bored of their flavours and you’ll get some favourites that you’ll have to wait to see again! If you need gluten free or vegan, they can accommodate that too with at least 3 of those options too. If you’re looking to enjoy your donut in their café you can also get a carefully crafted coffee from a local roaster and there is even an option to have a pour over coffee if you have time.
This video below gives you a little more info about what Red Eye is all about, and will give you some shots of their quaint café, Reymel and Amy eat stuff is a great channel if you’d like to learn more about some great spots in the region to eat and also to learn about some food that you’ve never heard of or tried.
To get yourself some tasty Red Eye Cafe donuts - visit them at 600 Hespeler Rd #76, Cambridge