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I pride myself on being a highly energetic, result driven professional. The combination of my experience in customer service, together with a diploma in Business Marketing from Georgian College, has allowed me to develop a progressive edge in today’s real estate market.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Headwaters 2012 Equine Forum


 
Real Estate Agents and Restaurant Owners aren’t the only ones who have first-hand small business experience. What some have stopped noticing is that our farms all across Canada have succeeded as small businesses and partners in many corporations. Just last week, I went to join some very interesting professionals who either own or operate small businesses. They are a part of the Hills of Headwaters Destination Development & Equine Forum. What they do is support the dream of making Headwaters a hotspot for tourism and development. Shelley Peterson was one person that really caught my eye. A successful author and actress who owns a stable that is home to over twenty horses. She is not only an attraction herself, but as is her barn, Saddle Creek, which is the setting in two of her more recent published novel. She spoke on video to us about the focus of keeping money in the local economy.

There was also John Downey. He and his family own a dairy farm which has been operated by them for three generations. His story is inspiring, hearing how his parents were able to build the farm and make it run, later having John join the work after college and now having his kids help him out. They have attractions such as home-made ice cream and a bakery. They also host parties and school trips.

Key note speaker John Nicholson, a well known man who has been the Executive Director at Kentucky Horse Park since 1997. He has completely turned Kentucky Horse Park upside down in every good sense of the saying. His knowledge and assertiveness has KHP being known as the finest equestrian competition facility in the world. He has convinced the USA to allow the World Equestrian Games and was the President for the competition in 2010. He has been awarded the Special Eclipse Award which is the highest honor in the Thoroughbred industry, on behalf of the Park and in 2010, the Prestigious Equine Industry Vision Award from the American Horse Publications for “outstanding leadership, creativity and meritorious contributions to the equine industry” and many more.


These great people succeeded and continue to succeed because of their contributions to the community. They bring in tourists to our towns which keeps the economy going. We will flourish because of our willingness to work together and brainstorm great ideas on how to keep the countryside an attraction. Not many see places and farms with rolling hills like ours anymore. Now, with the help of the Headwaters Horse Country Movement, the Hills of Headwaters Tourism Association and our regional residents we can keep the Hills of Headwaters growing as a destination for years to come.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Ontario Renovation Program


The majority of us know that Home Ownership can be a difficult duty. The cost of living today is high and with so many responsibilities to your family and not enough hours in the day, projects around the house can fall to the bottom of the list.  Well I have a solution for you! The program below is like winning a home renovation lottery. Dufferin County has become a part of the Ontario Renovates Program. What this Program provides is financial assistance to home owners or renters to make necessary upgrades to their home to make it more livable. However, this offer doesn’t come without a catch…or at least criteria.

To enter yourself into this program, you must:

-Be eighteen or over

-(when renting) obtain permission from Landlord

-be making a gross income of $82,600 or less

The home also has to be valued at $366,655 or less and the maximum grant given is $3,500.

We all need a helping hand once in a while and this is what the ORP is here for. If it is yourself or someone you know that needs this kind of help, you can contact Juli Griffin, who is the head of Dufferin’s ORP at these contacts:

County of Dufferin

Community Services – Housing

229 Broadway, Unit 4

Orangeville, ON


Phone: (519) 941-6991, ext 2404

 


Remember that enrolling in the Program is confidential and you are entitled to that confidentiality. The people of ORP are here to work out an opportunity for you so go for it! This is your chance to make your house more welcoming than ever before.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Real Estate Incline


The Market’s looking up everyone! If anything, the time is now to sell your home. This is a synopsis of an article based on sale comparables of last year to this year. Though there were less transactions, which is merely due to mortgage restrictions, the economy is gathering itself up again. Read below for more info!

 


“Greater Toronto Area (GTA) REALTORS® reported 5,879 transactions through the TorontoMLS system in September 2012. The average selling price for these transactions was $503,662, representing an increase of more than 8.5 per cent compared to last year.

The number of transactions was down by 21 per cent in comparison to September 2011. However, it is important to note that there were two fewer working days in September 2012 compared to September 2011. The majority of transactions are entered on working days. On a per working day basis, sales were down by 12.5 per cent year-over-year.

“While sales have been lower due to stricter mortgage lending guidelines, we continue to see substantial competition between buyers. The months of inventory trend remains low from a historic perspective, which explains the strong price increases we are experiencing,” said Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) President Ann Hannah.

September average selling prices were up compared to last year for all major home types. Price growth was strongest in the City of Toronto, including for condominium apartments with eight per cent year-over-year growth. All benchmark home types included in the MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) experienced year-over-year price increases, with substantially stronger increases for low-rise home types.

“Barring a major change to the consensus economic outlook, home price growth is expected to continue through 2013. Based on inventory levels, price growth will be strongest for low-rise home types, including single-detached and semi-detached houses and town homes,” said TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis, Jason Mercer.”

 


If you ever need to know more about trends and declines in the market, you can always call and ask me. I have access to the latest top stories and the juicy details on how we can sell how home the fastest! Have a great day to all!

 

-Sarah

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Just Around the Bend


When buying a home, you want to make sure you’re searching in ideal areas. An average family, for example, will look for areas that have short commutes, parks, and schools that are in the area of the home that they are touring. An average older person, however, would be looking for places that are nearby places of worship or recreational centers for their quieter lives. Things like these make all the difference in your home buying choice that can also add on to the price of the homes. Making small sacrifices will most likely be a part of your overall decision but will be completely worth your while, assuming that they would only be small sacrifices.

There are also certain things that you should avoid when buying. Areas that surround water treatment plants aren’t too great, the smell can be too overwhelming some days. Being too close to train stations and yards including subway underpasses can be noisy and dangerous for anyone. You’ll probably want to avoid Fire Houses, Hospitals, and Police Stations as well. Even though they are keeping us all safe, it’s not very appealing to live where sirens will be sounding. Busy highways and streets are a huge factor when you’re making a home buying decision. If it makes you’re commute a little less dreadful then that’s ok, but you really shouldn’t live near them when you have smaller children. The streets are not regulated with “Watch For Children” signs and they’re bad news for many accidents. Searching in slummier areas should be something else for everyone to avoid, too. You never know what types of people are lurking in alleyways and on quiet streets so avoid being near clinics and bars.

Another factor is weather. Does it rain a lot? Are there worse storms that blow through this area? Do Tornados come through here? Depending on the lifestyle and home that you are looking for, weather can be very important to avoid or strive for in an area. You could be looking at a very nice home with a really ideal price but did you ever stop and think that weather might hit this area very hard? Lots of rain can affect your basement and sewage. If the home floods too much due to weather conditions, it’s not really worth the buy.

You will also want to avoid looking in places that make you go over budget, staying at least $10,000 under your budget should allow a little wiggle room for any possible changes that might need to be made. Looking in newly renovated homes will not please you in price so look at home that could have the carpet torn up to reveal a rustic hardwood or kitchen cabinets that could be painted over easily.

I found a checklist the other day that will be useful when looking at homes. You can print it off or you can hire me as your agent to get as many as you need and as you tour homes, you can write down what applies to the homes.

You’ll want to make several copies of this checklist and fill one out for each home you tour. Then, comparing your ratings later will be easy: http://www.sarahlunn.com/account/3fb6b08b597d28e4/pdfs/checklist.pdf

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Center Stage


Today, I have put together some tips for staging your home. Staging your home is a way of setting up for buyers so that your home may look more appealing. Though you may have to hide some personal things, you also want them to feel that the house has charm and potential. If you feel uncomfortable to do this yourself, I offer the services of hiring a staging consultant for your home.


First off; Dressing Up the Outdoors

-Curb appeal

Your home needs to look inviting from the side of the road; no one wants to look at an icky looking home

-Decorate the Front Porch

Small pots of flowers, a welcome mat, and an outdoor dining set should do the trick

-Keep it Seasonal

Flowers for Spring, opened pool in the Summer, gourds and pumpkins in Autumn, and Wreathes in the Winter

-Gardening and Shrubbery

Keep the gardens healthy and free of pests

 

Keep Your House Clean

-It has to shine!

-Organization is Key (this includes the garage)

-No one wants to walk on dirt

-void your home of any clutter, it is very unappealing

Daily cleaning instead of Weekly is essential

-Get rid of pet odours and keep the pets at a friend’s or family member’s home

-No toys should be left in plain sight, start packing them neatly some where

 

Add Flare To Every Room

-A Little Style Never Hurt Anyone

So long as the styling isn’t too overwhelming, it should feel welcoming to others

-Symmetry is inviting

Rearrange furniture to make the rooms feel balanced and harmonized

-Think Whimsical and Crisp!

-Openness

Homes should be able to be explored by buyers, leave hallways clear and open up closets to entice the buyers

 

Colours

-Neutral Based

No gender based, no fancy coloured based, and no kids based spaces; everything should feel a little bit toned down, your style isn’t everyone else’s style

 

So, there you have it. A complete guide and list on how to present yourself by means of arranging your home. The more someone like the little hints of style that you place in your home while selling it, it is more likely that they will take care of the home as you did. Call me if you need help with staging consultation for  your home and we’ll get right on it!

-Sarah

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Renovations


How you present your home is how others will perceive it. When selling, you’ll have to do a bit of tinkering here and there and not just mowing the lawn or cleaning the sink. Home buyers want to know that you took good care of the home; they want to know that they can trust their decision if they buy your home. Small things like a splashy faucet or old carpet can set people off. Remember, they have a price range and if your home’s price doesn’t leave much leftover money for them to renovate, they will not be interested. Of course, doing a renovation such as tearing up the carpet can add value to your home. Carpet absorbs stains and smells much better than hardwood or tile.

If you do so choose to “update” your home after ten or twenty years of living there, your money will always get paid back in the end. The home value goes up because it is newly updated, taken care of, and it appeals to a wider range of buyers; older buyers would probably be looking for small, carpeted apartments. The money that you will get from selling your home will be like the renovations paying for themselves.

Also, as a home buyer, you should be asking all the right questions. Here are a few examples:

How old, approximately, is the home?

When was the last renovation done?

What appliances will be sold with the home?

Can we take a look at the gas meter?

Just by asking these types of questions will allow you to unravel the story of the home. You don’t want a home that floods too often, right? So ask about issues like that. However, don’t overbear the agent with these questions, the home owners may not have wanted to tell the agent about any issues. That alone plus any spotted issues that you saw during your showing, should tell you that this particular home is not for you. Unless, of course, you’d like to do a bit of work to the home or if it is too perfect of a price to pass on.

So, if you ever in the neighborhood, either wanting tips like this or you’re wanting to get more for your money on a home, just call me and we can set up an appointment as soon as possible!

 

-Sarah

Monday, 1 October 2012

A Chill In The Air


This Fall season looks like a cold one. This reminds me to tell you to not get sick! Catching a cold or the flu can lead to having less motivation and also a raging headache. Take care of yourself and others this season by using disinfectants like Purell every time you use a door handle, get into the habit of sneezing into your arm and not your hands, and most importantly, get the flu shot if it is necessary.

When I go to meet my clients, I love to see them happy and cheery. I also like to know that they are healthy enough to be up to the challenge of selling, buying and moving. The more you take care of yourself, the more immune you become against viruses and illnesses and I would rather you having better days than not.

Also, try not to go to the doctor’s office or a hospital if you don’t need to; which I really hope you don’t. During this season, people go to clinics and hospitals if they have become very ill and you don’t want to be in a place full of contagious germs. The best thing you can do for yourself is trying to be isolated from public transport or rest rooms. They have thousands of germs as it is and when the flu season is added on top of that, it is certain that there will be a week needed to be spent laying in your bed sometime in the near future.

If public places like these are your only options, disinfect and wash your hands as much and as good as possible. And if you’re already sick, avoid these public places, too. Going out just to feel better might not make someone else feel better. If you’re going to pass your germs on, pass it into a Tissue or a garbage can.

Let’s all have a good season and not become ill! Stay vigilant of germs and public places and we should be alright!

-Sarah