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.
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
Stephanie Catcher at 11:19 AM
Termites in Kitchener Waterloo
Saturday, June 1, 2019
Termites in Kitchener Waterloo - what you need to know
Believe it or not, there are termites in the Waterloo Region and left untreated, they can be extremely damaging to your home. I took this photo in a neighbourhood in Kitchener that has termites, this happened to be a townhome complex and these termites were very visible right at the front door. There are 5 neighbourhoods within Kitchener Waterloo that have what would be considered a termite infestation, this is an area that if affected for blocks, not just a few homes. The cost to treat for termites in an average sized home is $3000-$5000 and is something that
needs to be treated on a regular basis to make sure they do not return. The treatment involved drilling through all the floors in where there have been wood pilings, this often is done all around the foundation in the basement and is extremely disruptive to a finished basement space.
Here are some signs to look for if you think you have termites, don’t wait to have it checked until you see signs like in this photo:
7 signs of termites
Head banging. Not yours, but the termite soldiers!
Papery or hollow sounding timber
Tight fitting doors and hard-to-open windows
Tunnels in woo
Frass – termite droppings
Termites in the region spready easily by moving infested wood from an area that is not infested, something as simple as firewood, wooden planters, sheds, doghouses and even furniture is a good way for termites to easily move from one location to another. Other areas that have termite areas in the region include Guelph, Elmira and Elora.
Here are some tips from the region on what you can do to help fight termites
Lift any moveable wood in contact with soil such as firewood, lumber, or barrels and examine the wood/soil interface for termites or their tunnels
Examine stumps by prying off the bark or chopping into them.
Carefully examine crevices in the bark of large trees for shelter tubes.
Examine compost bins, garages, sheds, crawl spaces, under porches and decks, and exposed foundation walls.
Check the house starting in the basement using a flashlight and flat-edge screwdriver. If shelter tubes are found they should be carefully examined along their length. If the ends of shelter tubes are still wet this indicates they were recently built, and probably still active. If the shelter tubes show no cracks or damage, this also indicates that they may still be active.
Elevate a shed or dog house on a concrete pad.
Stack firewood and lumber off the ground on a metal rack, concrete pad, or patio stones in the sun away from the house.
Remove pressure-treated edging boards, retaining walls, or railway ties and dispose.
Live trees are usually not infested, but dead trees or a heavily infested live tree should be cut down, the stump excavated or chipped, and the chippings disposed.
Treat fence posts with borate rods.
Wood chip mulches provide excellent food source for termites and should not be used.
Using a licensed local realtor when looking for a home is a great way to learn about which areas are affected and if the home you are looking for is located within an infested area. If you own a home now with termites or choose to live in a home with termites, your realtor can also direct you to the proper companies to assist you with managing these pests.
Stephanie Catcher at 2:03 PM
Multiple Offer - Buyer's Perspective
Friday, May 24, 2019
Multiple Offers - Buyer's Perspective
Multiple offers are the things dreams are made of for sellers, but a nightmare for the buyer. Today I wanted to provide some tips for buyers who end up in a multiple offer situation.
1. Don’t wait: If you’ve found the one, don’t wait to offer on it. Every day that you wait, other buyers are looking at the property and the more people that see it, the more likely you are to end up in multiple offers
2. Be Ready: Have your mortgage pre approval, once you have your mortgage pre approval you’ll know what you can afford and you’ll be confident when you put in an offer. If you have a questionable pre approval it is advised to not get into a multiple offer situation
3. Have your Professionals Ready: If you do in fact end up offering on a multiple offer situation, you may be asked to tighten up your time frame to complete home inspections and final mortgage approvals and even lawyer tasks. It is best to know who you will be using for these services and to make sure that you have them ready when you are.
4. Let you agent know your position: Having open and honest communication with your real estate agent is best and you need to let them know how you feel about multiple offers. If you are willing to compete for the perfect house or if you are willing to walk away and keep looking. If your agent doesn’t know your true feelings for the house or your motivation, they won’t be able to properly assist. Remember, with a signed buyer’s commitment, your real estate agent is working for you and you are free to tell them how much you love or hate a house and don’t be afraid to hide your true feelings, chances are your agent doesn’t own that house and won’t be offended.
5. Plan a Strategy: I can’t give up all my multiple offer strategy tips here, but those of you who have worked with me in multiple offers are aware of what can be done. One tip that I will provide to everyone is don’t compromise on the big items, if your agent is asking you to remove your conditions of financing (if your financing is unsure) or to remove a home inspection, those aren’t items you should be compromising on. Maybe not asking for that wall mounted TV or appliances you know the owners want to keep are good items to remove from the offer, but not items that can affect your ability to purchase the house, the added stress isn’t worth it.
6. Remember it’s your Best Shot: Make sure when you are choosing what price you are going to offer in a multiple offer situation that what you are offering is your one and only chance. This price is the price you have to live with, make sure it’s a number you can afford, a number that doesn’t make you second guess how much you spent on the house and a number that isn’t just below the other offer and when you found out you lost the house over $1000 you don’t want to kick yourself over and over again.
7. Feel Good about your decision: Remember that if you don’t get the house you wanted there is always going to be another that you love even more. If you did get the house in the multiple offer, Congratulations don’t worry if you paid a little more than you wanted, the house was the one and you’ll be there long enough to make a return on your investment.
Multiple offers can be exciting and nerve racking at the same time, make sure you are prepared if the situation arises and remember if you work with a good agent and the home is meant to be yours, it will be!
When you list your home, I know that all sellers dream of having multiple offers, how much better can selling your home get, it sells quickly and you get to choose the best offer of the bunch! If multiple offers are what you are looking for, here are some tips on how to create multiple offers and some things to watch out for if they come up.
Price your Home Right: Price is what drives buyers into your home, if they don’t perceive it to be priced right they won’t be willing to look at it quickly. If a buyer or that buyer’s agent believes that the home is priced below market value, they will be willing to drop everything and look at your home right away, only when you get multiple buyers in your property quickly can you get multiple offers.
Have a great Product:
Price might bring them in the door, but the quality of your home is what will get them to buy. Make sure that your home is fully ready for sale before you list it, if items are incomplete or it’s not cleaned, decluttered and staged then your home won’t stand out and make those buyers feel that they had better buy this one before someone else does.
List close to an Open House:
If you list your home and have an open house planned for a few days later, buyers will feel the pressure to look at the home before the open house and to possibly offer before that open house as well, remember a buyer feels that the less eyes on a property the better the chances they will not have to end up in multiple offers
Make sure your Agent works for multiple offers:
If you are looking for multiple offers, make sure that your agent is calling all agents who have been through the home that have showed interest or haven’t left any feedback at all. Your agent should be making sure that they are exploring all options for more offers if that is what you are looking for. Also, keep in mind
that some buyer’s will shy away from multiple offers, so you do risk losing those buyers if you are too aggressive.
Once you receive the Offers:
once you have been advised there are multiple offers coming in, you will meet with your agent and all of the offers to choose which one works best for you. Remember that the buyers have put their best foot forward, so you won’t often be able to send them back for more money. While price is obviously a very important factor when you look at the offers, other factors to consider can be close date, conditions like financing, inspection and even sale of the buyer’s home. Make sure that you choose the offer that works best for you and if you have to ask the buyer to make a few tweaks hopefully it can be done. Be cautious of accepting an offer that has no conditions, in a few cases, buyers can get caught up in offering on a house before they have their financing pre-approved and could end up backing out of the offer, at which point, you would have to go back to the other buyers and hope that they are still interested in buying your home. Not only can choosing the wrong offer cost you valuable time on the market, but it can also cost you more money if the other buyers are not interested, of have chosen to lower their original offer.
Whether you end up with multiple offers or just one offer, remember the end result is the same, your home will sell for market value and you’ll be moving onto your next adventure!
With National Burger Day approaching, I want to make sure that you all enjoy an amazing burger for this special day. Some of these locations are a little harder to find, but totally worth the search! None of these burger joints are fast food, because you can’t rush meat perfection!
This small stop in Cambridge is such a fantastic place for making your own burger, choose your meat, your toppings and they have incredible sauces. This is my number one spot for burgers and worth the drive into the small residential neighbourhood. The meat is flavourful, the fries are fresh cut and the toppings are plentiful. Make sure you try the Garlic Dill Aioli
Another great small location with food worth the wait, while the burger toppings aren’t elaborate, the burger is tasty, the perfect size and nice and juicy! If you’re like me, you also want a great side with your burger and the Crazy Canuck is the best place in town for a Poutine! Stop in here and discover a new favourite!
Sonny’s is on this list for the Nostalgia, the burgers remind me of my childhood and the fries are always fantastic! With a Ms. Pac Man machine to play while you wait, this is the fastest burger stop on the list, but one that is worth it for the summer to sit out on the picnic tables and enjoy some classic burger family time!
Another Nostaglic stop, but Harmony lunch has gotten a update to modern eats with Chef Nick at the helm! What makes a harmony burger different? They’re made with pork patties, grilled to perfection and topped with great items such as pickled jalapenos, pineapple salsa or even chunky peanut butter! If you’re really going to go all out with your burger, turn your bun into a grilled cheese, it’s worth your entire week of calories!
Not only will you get a great view and wonderful atmosphere, but the food is fantastic too! There are so many different types of meat for burger choices here, so it’s sure to please the whole family including a lamb burger, a chorizo burger, a beyond meat vegetarian burger and their famous homemade burger with the cheese ring! If you’re up to the challenge, you can complete The Puslinch Burger Challenge. 3 Puslinch Patties (1bun), poutine and a milkshake. One hour to finish. Winners get on a wall of fame, free T-shirt and don’t pay, if you can’t finish pay $40!