Why Hire An Agent with SRES (Seniors Real Estate Specialist) Designation?
Low Maintenance Plants For Your Yard
Even if you don’t have a green thumb, you can still have a beautiful yard if you choose the right plants. Careful choice of what to place in your yard will mean less maintenance.
When selecting the plants for your yard, do some research on which plants are native to your climate. While exotic plants may look different and interesting in your yard, if they aren’t meant for that area you’ll likely need to spend a lot of time coddling them.
If you live in the desert, it’s best not to choose plants that require a lot of water. Not only will you have to pay close attention to them, but the cost of keeping them watered will be high—or impossible if you face drought restrictions on water. Climates with cold, harsh winters aren’t the best place for plants native to warm, tropical climates. Get to know the plants that grow naturally in your area—odds are good they’ll thrive without much attention.
Plant Hardy Perennials
The best thing about perennials is that you don’t have to plant every year. When you choose hardy, low-maintenance perennials, they will come back year after year with little effort on your part.
Many species of perennials, including coneflowers and ferns, can survive in a variety of soils and survive even harsh winters. There are also a lot of ornamental grasses that will provide lovely ground cover with little effort, and will come back year after year to keep your outdoor space green.
Succulents Can Take The Heat
If watering your plants isn’t high on your to-do list, succulents can solve your problem. While many people picture prickly cacti when they think of succulents, there are plenty of other options that are attractive and can survive a serious lack of water and a lot of hot weather.
While succulents are best suited to hot, dry climates, many will survive frost if you simply cover them over the colder months. Some of the hardiest choices are Red Yucca and Texas Sotol, both of which can survive weather as cold as 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
The key to a low-maintenance yard is to take some time to research which plants thrive best in your climate with little care. Your local garden shop can help you determine what to plant to avoid a lot of hours of work in your yard and add hours of enjoyment.
Things To Consider When Downsizing To A Smaller Home
Whether your kids have moved out or you simply want a lower mortgage payment, downsizing your home has a lot of benefits. You’ll save on utilities, have less to clean, and less to maintain as well. Before you get ready to move to a smaller home, consider these important points that will make the transition smooth.
Is Storage An Issue?
When you have been living in a larger home, you may not realize just how much stuff you really have. Moving to a smaller place can make it clear in a hurry, because it simply won’t all fit.
While you can give away some things or hold a garage sale, there are always things you simply can’t part with. They may be of sentimental value or things you really need for the future. Consider what sort of storage the new place has. If you can’t fit everything, you might need to look into renting an off-site storage unit for the things you don’t need frequently.
Will The Furniture Fit?
Large furniture does well in large spaces, but may make a smaller room appear cramped and tight. Before you move, a change to smaller furniture might be in order.
Take a measuring tape and get measurements of both the furniture you currently have as well as the rooms in your new home. If things won’t fit well, it might be a good idea to consider going for smaller furniture pieces that will make the new home appear more spacious than it is, and make things less cluttered as well.
Small Space Solutions
Smaller homes require different ways of using the space you have. If you don’t have room for a full guest room anymore, combine a guest room and an office by using a futon or fold-out sofa rather than a bed. If you don’t have an extra room at all, pick up a high-end air bed that can be tucked in a closet when not in use and brought out when you have guests.
Organization is key in smaller homes as well. There are a wide variety of storage options that will allow you to fit more into that smaller home and still stay organized. Look for closet and cupboard shelves and organizers to maximize your storage space.
A smaller home can save you money and cleaning time, but does require some adjustments. Prepare for downsizing ahead of time and the move will be smooth and simple.
If you'd like to know more, contact Kim Kissinger Coast Capital Realty @ 250-880-2546.
First-time buyers plan: 8 steps to buying smart
Navigating the world of Canadian home buying
Step 1: Figure out how much you can afford.
- First, decide how much you can afford for your down payment. The Home Buyers Plan lets you withdraw up to $25K per person (or up to $50K per couple) from your RRSPs – tax-free – to be repaid over 15 years. More on that here . The bigger your down payment, the less principal you will owe, and the less interest you will pay.
- Don’t forget about closing costs, like insurance, legal fees, home inspection costs, land registration and land transfer fees. Add those to your moving expenses and service hookup fees, and they can add up surprisingly fast.
- Your monthly housing expenses (mortgage, taxes, heat, etc.) shouldn’t use up more than 32% of your income. (If your combined monthly income is $5000, for example, 32% of that is $1600.) If you have car payments or credit card debt, the rule of thumb is that debt repayment shouldn’t be more than 40% of your income.
- Get pre-approved for your mortgage. It’s a good way of finding out how much you can borrow – and it speeds up the process once you’ve found the home you want to buy.
Step 2: Figure out what type of home is right for you.
Sit down and make a list of must-haves and nice-to-haves. Be realistic, but be clear about the features you can’t live without. How many bedrooms do you need? Bathrooms? Do you want a home office? A garage? How about a big backyard? Hardwood floors? Eat-in kitchen? Consider your lifestyle and your stage of life. If you’re planning kids in a year or two, the studio loft might not be your best bet.
Step 3: Decide where you want to live.
Living in an area you like is as important as buying a home you love. Do you want a busy urban lifestyle, a house in the ‘burbs, or a quiet place in the country? Do you want to walk to work or are you okay with a longer commute? Do you need to be close to good schools? Rec facilities? Shopping?
Step 4: Start looking.
Go to open houses. Visit mls.ca. Check the classifieds. Drive around neighbourhoods you like looking for For Sale signs. Talk to your REALTOR® about your needs and start looking at properties.
Step 5: Build a team.
Put together the right group of experts to help you buy. Start with a REALTOR® you trust, then look for a reputable lender or mortgage broker, a lawyer (or a notary in Quebec), a home inspector and an insurance broker. Your REALTOR® works closely with all of these professionals, and will be happy to recommend people you can depend on.
Step 6: Make an offer.
You’ve found the perfect place – now it’s time to make an offer. An offer to purchase includes the purchase price you’re offering, chattels to be included in the purchase (like appliances or light fixtures), the amount of the deposit, the closing date and any other conditions.
Your REALTOR® will help you prepare your offer, and will present it to the vendor, who will either accept it or make a counter offer (which asks for a higher price or different terms). You can accept or reject the counter offer. If everyone agrees, the home is yours. If not, you can make another offer, or you may have to keep looking.
Step 7: Get a mortgage.
Once you’re approved, you’ll need to decide what type of mortgage works best for your needs. Will you go with a fixed or variable interest rate? Will your mortgage be closed or open? What will your amortization period be? Will you make payments monthly, biweekly or weekly? Your mortgage broker or lender can help you find a mortgage that suits your needs – and saves you the most money in the long term.
Step 8: Move in and enjoy!
Trademarks owned or controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association. Used under licence.
FIVE QUICK TIPS TO GET YOUR HOME READY FOR FALL/WINTER
Roof repairs: If you can safely get onto your roof to inspect for missing shingles or other factors that may lead to a leaky roof, now’s the time to do it! If not, call in a Victoria professional organization and have them take care of the rooftop work for you.
Seal it off: Inspect doors and windows to ensure that the weather-stripping is in good condition. This will keep your house warmer and cozier in the winter months.
Hot stuff: Make sure that your heater and ventilation systems are in good working order! Clean out accessible ducts and replace filters where necessary.
Chimney sweep: Creosote, a black substance that builds up in the chimney when wood is burned, can cause chimney fires. Inspect your chimney for creosote and call a Victoria chimney sweep to keep your fireplace safe and functional.
Gutter check: With fall brings leaves and debris down so now may be the time to clean out those rain gutters again! If you want to do it yourself, make sure that you can safely access the gutters and then scoop out any debris, blast the drains clean with a high-powered hose, and repair any leaks you may find along the way.
Budget Christmas Gifts For Teachers.... they'll love
Everyone wants to show appreciation to their kids’ teachers come Christmas, but buying gifts can add up fast, especially if you have more than one child or more than one teacher. Put together a simple holiday gift every teacher will appreciate without hurting your Christmas budget with one of these great ideas.
Plant The Seeds Of Thanks
A great way to show appreciation is with flowers, but it means even more if you grow them yourself. Pick up a packet of flower seeds and some basic pots. Let your kids decorate the pot with markers, paint, stickers, glitter, and any other décor you can think of.
Fill each pot with a little potting soil and plant a seed. Be sure to do this ahead of time so it will have time to sprout before you give it to the teacher. This gift that continues to grow can stay in the pot, or the teacher can move it to their garden when spring comes around.
Bake Up Some Love
There’s nothing quite like homemade cookies, and they are extra meaningfulwhen you let your kids do the decorating. Bake up a batch of basic sugar cookies, and give your kids frosting and sprinkles to create their own special cookies for their teachers.
Place the cookies on a paper plate and wrap the whole thing in decorative cellophane, which you can find at your local dollar store. Tie it with a ribbon and you have a pretty and tasty treat that will be enjoyed not just for the flavor but also for the thought that was put into it.
A Cup Of Warmth
Put together a sweet and warming treat for a teacher with a mug and a packet of hot chocolate mix. Visit a local discount store to find holiday mugs at a great price, and pick up a box of hot chocolate mix packets. Place one packet in each mug, and wrap with colorful cellophane. Tie it off with a ribbon.
Any of these gifts will warm a teacher’s heart, and you can finish them off byhaving your child make a personal holiday card with construction paper and some markers and stickers. Let them draw a picture and sign the card themselves for the perfect holiday greeting to go along with that sweet homemade gift.
Say thank you and wish a teacher a wonderful holiday season, even on a budget, with any of these fabulous gift ideas.
Detoxify your home with plants
CREATE A SPOOKY YARD FOR HALLOWEEN
Halloween fun links
Halloween can be one of the most child-like and fun holidays of the year. From the adorable and excited children in their costumes to costume parties for adults, Halloween is really a time to let out the kid in all of us and have a good time. Whether just entertaining the Trick-or-Treaters or having a party, creating a spooky looking yard and exterior for your home can really add to the atmosphere of the event. Here are a few great ideas to make your home and yard look “spooktacular”!
Pumpkins And Jack-O’-Lanterns
Autumn is a great time of year to find lots of decorations that come from nature. Naturally when we think of Halloween we think of Jack-o’-Lanterns, and having plenty of these on your front step and in your yard will give it a great eerie effect. Also, rather than just cutting out the traditional faces try tracing out other images such as witches and cats. Painting pumpkins is also a great idea, and be sure to include many of different sizes. Remember to use battery operated tea lights or flashlights rather than candles in order to prevent accidents.
Scary Signs And Window Decorations
Creating scary signs or gravestones is a really inexpensive and creative way to make your front yard look scary. Use old pieces of wood to create signs that welcome your guests to your house of horrors or to design old-lookinggrave markers. Also don’t forget to decorate your front windows to matchthe look. Hang dark colored drapes, suspend fake cobwebs, and add a few fake spiders to complete the look. Lights can also add a nice spooky effect, but avoid candles for safety reasons.
Don’t Forget Your Trees!
A great place to add scary Halloween décor to your front yard is in your trees. Hang fake bats or a ghost, string some lights, or set a witch on one of the branches.
These are just a few of the fun, scary, and inexpensive ways in which you can make your property the spookiest on the block. But most importantly,don’t forget to get yourself into the spirit of the day and find a great costumethat matches your newly created house of horrors!
Pros And Cons of For Sale By Owner
We’re all looking for ways to save money in today’s economy. For some, that may mean considering selling their homes themselves in an effort to save the commission paid to a professional REALTOR®. Although some people do sell their homes without a real estate agent, those who are successful are the exception rather than the rule, and are typically either very experienced in selling homes or are completing less complex transactions such as transferring ownership to a child or tenant. For most homeowners, selling a home without professional assistance is simply too time-consuming and too risky. As a result, four out of five homes sold in the Canada are sold by a real estate professional. As with any financial decision, it is important to consider the pros and cons before making a final decision.
Selling your home yourself may work for you if: 1) the current real estate market favours sellers, 2) you aren’t in a hurry to sell your home, 3) you have the time and motivation to take on a part-time job, including the time and effort required to learn the process, respond to phone calls and other inquiries, show your home, and negotiate with potential buyers, 4) you can emotionally detach yourself from your home and conduct a market analysis to establish an appropriate selling price, and 5) you have a good real estate advisor or attorney who can protect your interests in the legal aspects of advertising and selling your home.
Acting as your own real estate agent is probably a bad idea for you if you: 1) are in a hurry to sell your home, 2) have difficulty dealing with tension, negotiations, or rejection, 3) are concerned about the security risks involved in showing your home, 4) do not have the budget or skills for effective advertising and marketing campaigns, 5) do not have the resources to establish an appropriate selling price, 6) don’t know how to ascertain whether or not prospective buyers are qualified, and 7) are not well-versed in disclosure requirements and the other legal aspects of selling a home or do not have a real estate advisor or attorney.
If you decide that selling your home alone is not the best choice for you or would like additional information on the benefits of using a professional REALTOR®, please call me at 250.880.2546. I would be happy to schedule a no- obligation meeting to share information about Royal LePage Coast Capital Realty and the services we provide.
Decorating For Thanksgiving Using The Bounty Of The Season
Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season, a time spent with family and friends. It is also the time of year when we can spend a lot of money, and in these tough times finding ways to save during the holidays is always welcome. Using the natural bounty available at this time of year is a great, inexpensive, and environmentally friendly option for decorating for the holidays. Here are a few creative ideas for your Thanksgiving decorating!
The vegetables that are available during the harvest season are not only great to eat, but are also a beautiful and inexpensive way to decorate your home and table. Arrange some pumpkins or large squash on your front steps or by the door. Also use smaller squash as part of a table centerpiece or as candleholders. Corn is another great vegetable that can be used as a decoration during Thanksgiving. A bunch of corn hung on the door or arranged in a vase can create a stunning look at virtually no cost.
The colors of the autumn season are some of the most beautiful of the year, and collecting leaves to use both in crafts and as part of seasonal decorations is a great and inexpensive idea. Leaves can be a beautiful addition to flower arrangements or can make great arrangements all on their own. They can also be used for festive wreaths for the front door or to make Thanksgiving themed garlands.
Nuts, Berries, And Branches
As the autumn season turns to winter, natural decorative items such as nuts, berries, and pine branches can be great choices not only for the Thanksgiving season but can easily transition into the Christmas season. Adding some walnuts to your Thanksgiving table or some berries to a wreath can add a nice touch that will last you through the season.
Getting creative with the natural bounty at this time of year is a great way to give your home a beautiful and traditional holiday look without breaking the bank.