Category: helpful tips (45)

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People talk about going home for the holidays, but it’s often the traditions of the holidays that create a home wherever you are. RE/MAX is taking a look at things that make a house a home and how each one can add to your seasonal celebration.

Eat, drink and be tacky with your closest friends by hosting an ugly holiday sweater party. No matter what you celebrate this holiday season, there’s a sweater for you. So hit the thrift store, the attic or one of the online stores and start planning. Here are a few ideas:

1. Make an impression with your invite

Feature yourself – in your ugly sweater, of course – on a paper or online invitation (i.e. Paperless Post) have a whole section of pre-made options to choose from).

2. Deck the halls

It’s not just about the sweater. Raid the dollar store or thrift store for the most garish holiday decorations you can find and go nuts. Wrap your doors and fridge in loud holiday paper and ribbon, transform a room with tinsel and don’t forget the bathroom. Remember, you’re aiming for over-the-top, so items like ‘fun toilet seat cover’ are just a start.

3. Give awards

Hand out prizes in different categories, like Loudest Sweater (with jingle bells!), Scariest Sweater and Cutest Sweater. Mini versions of the holiday’s tackiest dessert – fruitcake – make great trophies.

4. Go retro with refreshments

Authentic ugly holiday sweaters date back to the ’80s (and maybe earlier), so focus on that era for food and drink inspiration: a retro wreath of pigs in blankets, topped with a bow; red and green cups of Jello (with your favourite holiday spirits) stacked in a Christmas tree-shaped tower; and so on.

5. Holiday pictures

Make a giant frame from cardboard and tin foil, accent it with Christmas lights and mistletoe and you’ve got an irresistible photo prop to commemorate the evening with. If you happen to have old holiday pictures of you and your family sporting ugly sweaters, be sure to display them.

Do you have the will to party but lack the space? Maybe Santa will bring you a bigger house for the holidays. If he doesn’t come through, a RE/MAX agent can help. Find one here.

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So you’ve decided to sell your home. While you’re preparing for this next chapter in life, keep some of your attention and energy on the importance of preparing your home to outshine all others on the market. Selling your home in the shortest amount of time, receiving your asking price and having an all-around flawless sale can be achievable if you properly prepare this (very large) item you’re about to sell. Here are my tips to ensure that success.

1.
Emphasize the idea of move-in ready
A neutral palette (regardless of how boring you may think it is) will always be a timeless choice when it comes to paint, furniture and window coverings. And you don’t need to be a professional interior designer to arrange things within your home – visit some model homes in your area and take note of how they’re staged. Simple DIY projects go a long way.

2. De-clutter and depersonalize
Potential buyers want to see themselves in your home; need to envision how they can make it theirs. Simplify spaces (including entryways) by removing everyday items such as TV remotes, schoolwork, piles of laundry, to-do lists on the fridge, personal photos and excessive amounts of pet toys. Clean out closets and begin boxing up items. If you know you’re moving, why not get a head start on your packing anyway? Clean, well-organized and minimal closets showcase space potential, not your personal items. And adding fresh flowers, plug-in air fresheners, a foyer table, simple décor and a nice rug can give buyers that well-needed hug when they enter your home!

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3. Appeal to the senses
Walk your home and ask yourself (or others), “What do you see, smell, touch and hear?” Deep clean your home or hire a professional cleaning company to make it sparkle – it gives buyers the impression the home has been well cared for. Remember, sticky floors and filthy light switches appeal to no one. If you have pets, consider confining them to one area of the house while your home is on the market. Barking dogs (or chirping smoke detectors) can hurry a potential buyer along during a showing. Consider leaving on some instrumental music during showings to appeal to your buyers’ ears.

4. Remove the eyesores
Look around your home and ask yourself these questions: “Would I purchase this home today? Do I like the overall style? Is my home dated? Is my backyard a sanctuary for a family?” The answers to these questions will help you identify the eyesores. Look for items in your home that are dated, have harsh patterns or edgy colours, are too small to fill a wall or are too large on a small one. Styles that clash with one another, aged wallpaper, broken items you can’t repair, rusted car parts or clutter in your yard or patios all create eyesores. It’s better to have an empty wall, an empty room or nothing at all than something that doesn’t work for the space or is unappealing. Mirror your space after current styles and trends found in design magazines.

5. Consider using my checklist
Here is my checklist (VIDEO) when I am staging a home. This list has never failed me and keeps me accountable.

  • Exterior:
    – Grass is cut, edged and looks healthy
    – Weeds are pulled
    – Any dead bushes or trees have been removed
    – Simple flowers or wild grasses are added on patios and porches
    – House itself is cleaned and/or power washed.
    – Toys, yard hoses, dog leashes, dog waste, yard statues are all cleaned up and put away.
    – Back patio and yard are “lightly staged” with plants, cushions on chairs, and rugs under seating areas and patio table. Add outdoor lanterns and candles.
    – Patio or deck is cleaned 
    – DIY projects are completed. To include: freshly stained deck, repaired broken floorboards, loose banister railings, exterior lights, sheds or outbuildings organized and cleaned. Any landscaping projects are not left incomplete. Large cracks in driveways or sidewalks are repaired.
  • Interior:
    – Home smells clean, looks clean, is de-cluttered and appeals to the senses
    – Eyesores are removed.
    – Personal photos and items are put away 
    – Daily messes and countertop items (in both the kitchen and bathroom) are put away
    – Toiletries, perfumes and jewelry are not left on vanity counters 
    – Small appliances, dishes and kitchen needs are not cluttered on kitchen counters
    – Fresh flowers or artificial plants are placed throughout the home to add life to spaces
    – Color palettes and themes in each space are transformed to a more neutral palette. Bold patterns in décor or too many colors are minimized 
    – Themes and prominent styles in home are minimized as to not assume the home is exclusively Santa Fe style, Tuscan style, Western, etc
    – DIY projects are completed. To include: replacing dated textures, fixtures, wallpaper, window coverings, faucets, general household repairs, etc

Keep these items in mind when staging your home for resale and you’ll enter the selling process with the confidence your home deserves!
~ RE/MAX Story by Carriann Johnson, interior designer

Caldwell Agencies Featured Home: 400 Chapman Street, Kimberley BC ($269,000)

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The holiday seasons means a flurry of activities and family time. Here are some easy ways to make sure you and your guests are comfortable through it all. 

1. Sticky-roll the furniture. Have your pets been sneaking a nap on the couch when you’re not looking? Make sure to de-fur the furniture before anyone has to sleep on it.

2. Test your air mattresses for holes. There’s nothing worse than falling asleep on an air mattress and waking up on a deflated tarp on the floor. 

3. Pile kids into one room. They’ll love feeling like they’re at a sleepover.

4. Gather all of your old phone chargers. It’s one of the easiest things for travellers to forget to pack. Have your old chargers on hand and you may save a guest a trip to the store. 

5. Make the Wi-Fi password readily accessible.  An easy way to do this is to print out the internet information on a notecard for each guest room.

6. Designate a snack and beverage hub. To avoid people tripping over each other at the fridge and during crucial food-prep times, set up a station away from the kitchen – maybe in the study – where guests can grab coffee and a bagel (or the like!) at their leisure.

7. Stock all the bathrooms.  Everyone will feel better having all the bathroom essentials on-hand, including towels and washcloths, common toiletries, toilet paper, and, of course, a toilet brush and plunger. No one wants to announce they need a plunger!

8. Let them pitch in.  Most guests want to help out somehow. Have everyone pick a regular task they’re willing to be responsible for, like walking the dogs, taking out the trash, making breakfast or doing the dinner dishes.

9. Relax and enjoy yourself! Set the tone for your guests. 
Do your best to look past the chaos and make the most of the time with family and friends.

An extra bedroom, closet or bathroom can go a long way around the holidays. Is it time you had more space?  Find a local RE/MAX agent who can help you find the right place for you.

~ RE/MAX Blog 

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Preparing to bring home a furry bundle of wagging joy? Keep your puppy (and belongings) safe by following these tips.

1. Harvest your plants

Puppies are known to nibble indiscriminately – make sure they don’t munch on a toxic houseplant! Find out which of your plants are dangerous (azalea, philodendron and jade are a few) and either hang them high or make a neighbour’s day with a gift of green.

2. Hide your cords

Everything can look like a chew toy to pups and electrical cords are no exception. If you can’t tuck them safely out of sight, try feeding cords through PVC tubing. Cords hanging from drapes and blinds also can be tempting to puppies. Tie them up out of reach.

3. Stash your trash

Items such as Q-tips and twisty ties can cause serious damage if your puppy consumes them. Chicken bones can be ever-so-enticing – and highly dangerous – to dogs. If you have under-counter storage space that can accommodate your trash can, use it. Otherwise, be sure to use a sturdy trash can with a locking lid.

4. Secure your snacks

Avoid the temptation to slip your dog table scraps. Lots of common foods, like onions and grapes are poisonous to dogs. Foods stored in plastic bags are also dangerous, as puppies could suffocate on the plastic. Stash them on high shelves, or in pantries and cabinets.

5. Mind your pocketbook

Hang a hook or clear some space in a closet where you can place your purse as soon as you walk through the front door. You’d be amazed how quickly a pup can pilfer pills, sharp objects, pens (that could leak all over your carpet), makeup and other dangerous items from your bag.

6. Store cleaners

Make sure all household cleaning agents, like laundry detergent, pods, bleach and furniture polish, are stowed safe from the puppy in a cabinet that either locks or has a child-proof latch.

Need a home with a yard for your puppy to grow into? Contact a RE/MAX Caldwell Agencies team member today. 

~Story by RE/MAX

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There’s no online calculator for setting the perfect listing price for your home. It takes experience, market savvy, and even a bit of psychology. A strong listing agent can help you set the right, most competitive price for your home. Here are a few things they might look at:

1. The competition
Your agent will look at the prices of similar homes in your area that either are currently listed or sold during the past few months. They’ll take into account how many days the properties were on the market and how the listing prices for those homes differed from the final sale prices.

2. Market trends
What’s affecting the market in your neighbourhood, and your region? Your agent will consider national factors that shape the real estate market, such as possible rising interest rates, as well as local factors, like whether the average home price in your neighbourhood has been rising or falling. They’ll also think about things such as plans for improving local amenities, like parks and recreational activities. All can increase the value of your home to a buyer.

3. Your neighbours
Although a home the same size and age recently sold for a high price, your own place might not fetch the exact same fortune if, say, junky cars continue to proliferate in your neighbour’s driveway. On the flipside, if the grass is in fact greener on the other side of the fence, your home’s value may be higher due to your neighbours’ curb appeal.

4. The Goldilocks price
Listing your home at a price that’s “just right” from the start is critical to selling it quickly, for the best price. Overpricing your home, and then dropping the price a few times while it sits on the market, could lead to a lower final sales price than if the home was priced appropriately from the beginning. And, of course, setting a price that’s too low leaves money on the table.

Wondering how much your home might be worth in today’s market? Find a local RE/MAX agent who can explain how these and other considerations could factor into a pricing strategy for your home.

~ Blog by RE/MAX

 

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Sure, you could leave that cluttered room as a shrine to your university student, but wouldn’t you love to use that space? Break the news to your kid gently, don’t throw anything out without consulting them and keep some closet space open for when they come back to visit. Then consider one of these redecorating ideas for your empty nest.

1. Guest room

A fresh coat of paint, new linens and the relocation of the trophy collection to the basement is sometimes all you need to repurpose a child’s room into a guest-friendly bedroom.

2. Man cave

Haul in the big screen and a mini fridge, swap the bed for a comfy couch and lounge chairs and you’re ready for the big game. A pool or ping pong table could be a great addition to larger spaces.

3. Hobby room

Finally, a practice room for your bluegrass band! Or a scrapbooking oasis where you can leave supplies out all the time. Bring in bright lights and a work table and you’ve got hobby heaven.

4. Gym

You’ll be amazed how much space is in that bedroom once you get rid of the bed, dresser and desk. Install some full-length mirrors so you can check your form, buy rubber floor mats, set up the speakers and a TV. Then get ready to sweat.

5. Office

Replace your kid’s furniture with an expansive desk, good lighting and some file cabinets and you’re on your way to productivity.

If you’ve tried the ideas above and still have space to spare, it might be time to think about downsizing. When you’re ready, find an experienced agent to work with here.

Story by RE/MAX.

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Now that we are well into October, the countdown continues as people wait in anticipation for the creepiest night of the year: Halloween. Want to give people the chills as they wander past your house on All Hallow’s Eve? Here are a few décor tips.

Outdoors

Tombstones: Give guests the creeps with a small graveyard in front of your house with tombstones. For a spookier effect, add some fake bones sticking out of the ground.

Smoke: A fog machine may be pricey, but it can really up the level of haunt your house will have. Think the graveyard scene from Michael Jackson’s Thriller.

Carved Pumpkins: A Halloween classic for a reason. The soft light fits right in with your spooky vibe…and will light the way for guests.

Sound effects: Scratching on windows, blood-curdling screams, witches cackling. Say no more! Play some sound effects to get guests pumped for their journey inside of the house.

Indoor Décor:

Set the tone: The most important part of a haunted house is the feeling people get when they enter. Play some eerie music as guests walk through. Dim the lights or light some candles for a haunting atmosphere.

Cobwebs galore: Decorative cobwebs always add that old, chilling element to a haunted house. Dry some flowers and put them on your mantle or table with the cobwebs. Or string the cobwebs in corners and over mirrors or lights with some fake spiders.

Bones and more: Adding a few skulls or skeletons around the house will really add to the effect. Extra props for putting a big one in a rocking chair.

Paintings/pictures: Make people question, “Are those eyes following me?” Check out your local thrift store or yard sales for some old portraits that induce chills.

Crystal Ball: Scavenge for a crystal ball and give this Haunted Mansion inspired prop a try.

Ghosts: Have an extra sheet lying around? Throw it over a light and put it in the distance to add an element of mystery to your décor.

Child’s Play: There’s something chilling about a porcelain doll’s stare. Put them out to give adults a flashback to The Twilight Zone.

Looking to buy or sell a home? A RE/MAX agent can help – find a frightfully good one!

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Curling up in front of the fireplace with a book can be the quintessence of coziness on a cold fall or winter’s day, but it can also be dangerous if you don’t maintain your fireplace and use it correctly. And to coincide with Kimberley’s Fire Prevention Week (October 9 – 15, 2016) — here are a few fireplace safety tips when using your fireplace this winter.

1. Go with a pro
We suggest you hire a certified chimney cleaner to inspect your fireplace and chimney at least once a year. They probably won’t sing catchy songs in a Cockney accent like in “Mary Poppins,” but they will remove dangerous clogs and buildup.

2. Put a lid on it
Ever chase a squirrel around your house with a broom? Exciting, but not fun. Prevent critters, birds and debris from coming down your chimney by installing a proper and certified mesh cap on top of your chimney.

3. Play defense
Spark guards, the mesh screens that can be placed in front of your fire, prevent flying embers from launching into your living room and starting trouble. When you leave the room (or fall asleep) it’s especially important to use one.

4. Be wood wise
Burn seasoned hardwood that has been dried for at least six months. Green, unseasoned or soft woods emit more creosote — that’s the flammable stuff that can build up in your chimney.

5. Check your equipment
Test your smoke detectors every month, change your batteries every year and replace devices every 10 years.

6. Keep a fire extinguisher on hand
Have one. And be sure you know how to use it.

7. Seal it up
When not using your fireplace, close the damper to prevent warm air and the money you spend to heat your house, from being lost straight up your chimney.

Is a fireplace one of the top features on your “must-have” list for a new home? The right agent can help you find neighbourhoods that allow wood burning fires and a home with just the right hearth. Find one here!

**And don’t forget about Kimberley’s Fire Department Open House this Thursday (Oct 13, from 5:30pm to 7:30pm at Fire Station #1; 340 Spokane Street).  

Blog post by RE/MAX

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In recent years it’s become a trend for friends who stay in town to gather together for Thanksgiving, where in the past it has been a traditionally a family affair. If you can’t make it home for Turkey Day, consider gathering your crew for a “Friendsgiving” meal.  Here are a few tips:

1. Invite early
Send an invitation (electronic or stamped) to your friends before the feast to be sure they can join you. However, always make room for last-minute guests – it’s Thanksgiving so the more the merrier! 

2. Delegate
As host, etiquette dictates that you provide the turkey and gravy (and in some homes, a special cocktail for the occasion). Your guests can provide everything else potluck style. An online list can help your friends divide up dishes to avoid any repeats.

3. Empty your fridge
It’s a good excuse to start feasting before the festivities. You’ll need room in your fridge and freezer on the day of the party and afterwards, for all those leftovers.

4. Make a schedule
Breaking down the event into small tasks you can schedule (some even before the big day, like setting the table the night before) reduces the stress of hosting duties. Follow your steps, stick to the timeline and have fun.

5. Don’t forget the gratitude
Set out a bowl and index cards during appetizers and have guests list things they’re grateful for – sincere or silly. Between dinner and dessert, take turns reading the cards out loud.  And remember to make this task – easy and fun! For example, three of the staff from RE/MAX Caldwell Agencies wanted to pass along why they are “thankful”:
   “I’m thankful for time with my grandkids” – Joanne Kitt
   “I’m thankful for family and friends” – Rea Jarrett
   “I’m thankful for Katie being home for the weekend” – Lauriss Caldwell

Looking for a new home in a friendly neighborhood? Find a local RE/MAX agent who can help you find the perfect place.

Story by RE/MAX.

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While it won’t guarantee them a place at top Canadian University, having a room or designated space in your home for studying can help kids focus on their homework. Here are a few suggestions for putting together an A+ study space.

1. Brighter room, brighter mind
Lighting is one of the most critical features of a productive study space, especially as night comes early during much of the school year. Add a desk or floor lamp if the room’s main light isn’t bright enough.

2. A door – that closes
Shut out distractions – such as the sound of dinner being made or younger siblings watching TV – with a solid door that minimizes outside sound. If a door is not possible, foam earplugs, white noise machines or soft background music can help fight encroaching buzz.

3. Banish distractions
Make the room a cell phone-free zone and if there’s a TV, take the remote during study time to reduce temptation.

4. Consider colour
The colour of the room can affect kids’ ability to concentrate. Elementary school-aged kids do best when surrounded by warmer colors, like yellow and peach, while older students focus best with cooler hues, like blues and greens, according to psychological colour studies.

5. Clear clutter
Towers of magazines, piles of mail and even baskets of laundry can distract kids from homework. Help them focus by keeping the space, especially the desk, as clutter-free as possible.

6. Talk to an expert – your kid
Perhaps the most important factor in creating a great study space is finding out your child’s unique preferences. You might love the expensive ergonomically correct chair, but your kid might find it easier to read for long periods from a giant beanbag on the floor.

Thinking of buying or selling your home? Make sure to work with a professional who has done their homework. Find an honour roll agent here.

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It’s easy to boost buyers’ impression of your home in new, inexpensive ways with each season. Here are a few things you can do in the fall to make it inviting. 

1. Light it up.
Shorter days and longer shadows mean you need to be particularly careful to maximize natural light with open drapes and blinds, and add more light where needed with floor and tabletop lamps. Replace any burned-out bulbs in outdoor lights. And schedule showings earlier in the day, when the light is stronger. Adequate lighting makes a bigger difference than you might think.

2. Rake in the leaves (and the buyers).
Keep up with your yard work to help hike curb appeal. Clean up the leaves and trim back any overgrown or dead plants. Cut back trees and hedges that hide or overshadow windows and porches.

3. De-clutter your yard.
Store all those bikes and bocce sets. A less-cluttered yard appears larger. Leave the grill, though. One that’s shiny and clean can help buyers see the possibilities of living out their hamburger-and-steak fantasies. If you have nice patio furniture, arranging it around a fire pit – even just a portable or tabletop one – creates a warm, social atmosphere.

4. Pumpkins.
They’re cheap. Pumpkins can add a bright, seasonal touch, but be careful not to overdo it. You’re decorating a home, not a department store.

5. Burn, baby, burn.
If your home has a fireplace, now’s the time to let it shine. Of course, you probably don’t want to light a blaze for showings, just in case the fire’s unattended between appointments. But you can make sure it’s clean. Tasteful fall décor, like a simple vase of pinecones can add a nice seasonal touch to the mantle or hearth. If your agent will be hosting an open house, a crackling fire with lots of comfy seating can be a great touch.

6. Two words: pumpkin spice.
Don’t worry, there’s no need to actually bake a pie. Before showings, simply burn scented candles with seasonal aromas, like apple, cinnamon and ginger, to add to your home’s coziness.

If you’re looking for more personalized recommendations for selling your home, find a local RE/MAX agent who can help you show your home at its best!

~ Story by RE/MAX

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Keeping your home looking like a furniture showroom for long stretches isn’t easy. Here are a few tips to keep your house ready for showings while you’re still living in it.

1. Attack the clutter
As you prepare your home for showing, start with a major decluttering. Throw out, recycle or give away things you don’t use. Getting rid of junk will make your home more appealing to prospective buyers and free up space for you to neatly store things when it’s time to tidy up for a showing.

2. Rent storage space
Keeping things neat is easier when you have less things. An off-site storage unit can help (and you can keep it as messy as you like).

3. Start packing
Packing most of your dishes and large baking and cooking items frees up cabinet space that you can use to stash items you use on a regular basis. It also gives you a head start on packing for your move.

4. Rope off a room – or two
If you can, temporarily rope off rooms or areas from the kids, pets or spouses to contain your mess in a smaller space while your house is listed. But remember to make those rooms look nice, too, before the showing!

5. Buy hiding spots
The home sections of discount stores are filled with attractive fabric boxes and fashionable bins that can simultaneously hide junk and match your décor.

6. If all else fails, stash it under the bed
Invest in a couple of under-the-bed bins that you can use to store everything from socks to kids’ toys in when faced with a last-minute showing.

When showing your home, it pays to work with a professional. Find a great agent here!