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Email: jpappy@uniserve.com

Selling your home can be one of the most stressful situations to be in, simply because, for the most part, it's completely out of your hands.  


Whether it be a buyer or a seller's market, being on the selling side is never easy. You are constantly waiting...waiting for showings, waiting for offers, waiting on inspections, waiting on the buyer's conditions to be removed, it can start to feel like a neverending waiting game. 


On top of waiting, you can also add packing, searching for a new home, making life-changing decisions, dealing with your finances, and of course keeping your house in pristine condition while doing so to ensure it's ready for any last-minute showings. We won't lie to you...it's not easy, however, it is temporary! 


JP Real Estate specializes in assisting you throughout the entire process, offering a helping hand, making suggestions, taking some of the workload off your plate, and will be a listening ear because we understand how stressful this can be. 


Here are a few tips on how to manage the stress and anxiety that may arise during the sale of your home. 


Practice Self-Care


It may seem like there are not enough hours in the day, especially now with selling your home, but taking some time to take care of yourself will help you get through this process much easier. Go for a walk, get a massage, have a hot bath, or simply take a few minutes each day to just sit quietly and focus on something other than your to-do list. 


Eating right and ensuring you get enough exercise during this time is extremely important as well. We understand how busy you are and calling to order some take-out or swinging through the drive-thru may seem like a great idea at the time but this will not give you the nourishment and vitamins your body needs. Try meal prepping one day per week so that you have some fresh healthy meals that are easily accessible or ordering food from a local market that provides nutritious meals that at easy to heat up and eat in a hurry.  


Set up a home showing system


Keep your home as tidy as possible at all times so that when the call comes in for a last-minute showing, you're not running around trying to clean it in a hurry. A few decorative boxes around your home are a great place to stash those daily items you use but don't want laying around when someone comes to see your home. You can also start packing early, there's definitely no need to pack your entire home, however, putting the things you don't use often into boxes and storing them neatly in your garage or a spare room will give your home a much tidier and spacious appearance.  


Home staging is another great way to ensure your home is ready to show at the drop of a hat. Having a professional come through your home and stage it to appeal to buyers will assist you in knowing what to remove and what to keep in place.  


Worst Case Scenario Plan 


We don't want to frighten you with this one, but having a 'worst-case scenario plan' in place will save you a lot of headaches if things don't go as planned. For example, if you're purchasing a new home and its dependant upon the sale of your current home, but your current home isn't selling, you need to have a plan in place with your realtor and lender to ensure there are contingencies in place to extend your closing date on the new home. Also, keep an eye on the market, you may not be able to close on that new home, so having an idea of what else is out there is a great backup and will ensure you're ready to start looking right away. 


We understand that these are things you don't even want to think about, but being prepared will make life much easier if things go south.  


Hiring the Right Agent


Hiring an agent you trust, who understands you, your wants and needs, and can guide you through each step of the selling process will give you the peace of mind that you need during this time. 


Find an agent that is willing to sit and listen to all your concerns, worries, desires, and needs for your sale. Your realtor should know you and your expectations. 


Also, be sure that your realtor does a thorough walkthrough of your home and points out any repair that should be made prior to listing your home on the market. This will not only increase your home's value, but it will save you a lot of work and potential disputes with the buyers in the long run. 


Hire someone with excellent communication skills who will be accessible to you when needed, can assist you with inspections, review all documents and explain the "fine print" to you when you're needing some extra help.  

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Many people think that adding a swimming pool, hot tub, or a fancy water fountain to their backyard will increase the value of their home and appeal to many buyers, however, it's actually quite the opposite.


Buyers often see these additions as time-consuming, expensive, and a lot of extra work.


There are, however, plenty of other ways to increase your home's value by updating your backyard. 


All-season deck


Installing an all-season deck in your backyard will increase your home's value substantially. People are spending more time at their homes these days and giving potential buyers some living space in the backyard is an extremely attractive feature. Whether it be a covered or uncovered deck, this space will appeal to nearly all buyers as it gives them the option of enjoying family time, dinners, gatherings, a space for exercising or yoga at home while enjoying the fresh air. A firepit and a bbq area will also be extremely attractive to many buyers. 


Trees


Planting mature trees around your yard will give your home privacy and a sense of security. Buyers want to feel cozy, safe, and free from nosey neighbours, some mature trees will provide exactly this in your yard. 


It will also provide shade on those hot summer days and be a great spot to lay out a blanket and read a book under. 


Lawn and garden


Keeping your yard well-manicured and tended to will provide excellent value to your home. Plant some shrubs, flowers, and put up a few hanging baskets, all these little things will offer a sense of home to potential buyers and appeal to nearly everyone. 

 

The best advice for improving your backyard and increasing the value of your home is that 'less is more'!


Keep it simple, don't go overboard, and ensure that everything is well cared for and offers a comforting feeling of home to everyone who sees your backyard, especially you! 

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Many people feel that leveraging the equity in their home is the last resort, however, that is definitely not the case. Your home is your strongest collateral and this can be used to your advantage. 


Many lenders see borrowing against your home as a low risk, meaning you'll likely get lower interest rates and lower payments. 


When used proactively, a home equity loan can improve your finances and your life in numerous ways. 


Start a business

Using funds from your home equity loan to start a business is a great way to increase your financial freedom. Business loans can be extremely difficult to procure and often come with high-interest rates and payments. Using home equity funds could be just the boost you need to get your business up and running successfully. 


Renovating your home

Renovating your home is an investment, not an expense! If you have some work to do around the home, this is a great way to get the funds and increase its value at the same time. A home equity loan is especially great when you are renovating to add a rental suite that will bring in extra money as this suite will cover the cost of the loan payment and likely a few extra dollars in your pocket too. 


Purchasing an investment property

A traditional mortgage to purchase an investment property can be tricky to obtain as banks often require you to bring in enough non-rental income to make your monthly payments. This is in addition to your current and primary home. If you're looking to buy a secondary home for investment purposes, you may want to look at your primary home first to see if you can use this as equity, it will likely be a lot easier and less expensive. 


Education

A good education is one of the most valuable things a person can have, it can also be one of the most expensive. Rather than taking out a student loan or bank loan to fund your education with high-interest rates and extremely strict payment schedules, your home equity may provide a more flexible, affordable option. 


Consolidate your debt

Having debt spread across several credit cards, lenders, lines of credit, etc. each with a different interest rate and payment schedule, can become extremely expensive and daunting to keep track of. Pay off those debts once and for all and leave yourself with one simple monthly payment at a low-interest rate. 


Whether you're looking to have fewer payments at lower interest rates or you're wanting to springboard your new business, a home equity loan could be a great option for you. 

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Buying and selling a home can be an overwhelming process full of legal details that you may not understand. For this reason, we strongly suggest hiring a professional realtor to represent you and ensure that your best interests are being looked after. 


There are a couple of common mistakes that take place when buyers submit an offer, however, these can be avoided if worded correctly and are caught before the contract is signed. 


Home Inspection Clause

Numerous home sales have collapsed due to the wording of the home inspection clause. This clause states that the buyer has the right to withdraw their offer if the home inspection proves any unsatisfactory results. Unfortunately, many buyers have taken advantage of this clause and withdrawn offers for various non-issues stated in the home inspection. This has caused many sellers a great deal of time, money, and upset. 

To avoid this problem, as a seller, we suggest wording this clause to state that the seller has the option to repair any problems that were found in the home inspection at the seller's expense, prior to closing. 


Survey Clause

All buyers have the right to add a survey clause to their real estate contract. As a seller, if you have added an addition or a pool to your property since your last survey, unfortunately, this will be out-of-date and a new survey will be required. The cost of an up-to-date survey can cost you approximately $700 - $1,500, depending on the size of your property, the age of your most recent survey, and the additions that have been added to the property. 


Swimming Pool Clause

When buying or selling a home with a swimming pool, there should be a specific legal clause that addresses this directly. Some contracts are written to state that the seller provides a warranty to the pool to survive closing, however, it may be better stated that at the time of closing, the seller believes the pool to be in good working condition. This protects both the buyer and seller, rather than just the buyer. 


Hiring a real estate professional and having a lawyer who specializes in real estate law on your team will be extremely beneficial to you when buying or selling your home. We suggest reviewing all real estate contracts carefully and asking your realtor or lawyer if you have questions about any of the clauses or fine details prior to signing any documents. 

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With the weather is cooling down and the rainy season coming, now is the perfect time to prepare your home for the fall and winter seasons.


Below is a checklist that I've created for you to get your home ready for the cooler months. 

UP TOP

Gutters - Clean out the gutters and replace if needed.


Roof - Check for damage, warped or missing shingles, and replace or repair anything that may not last through the winter. 


Moss - Scan your roof for moss growth, this is an easy and quick fix that can save you thousands of dollars in the long run. 


Critters - Check roof overhangs and patch up any holes or openings where birds, rodents, squirrels, etc. could make their new home. 


Chimney - Have your chimney professional cleaned and inspected before using it. You don't want to settle in for the first cozy fire of the season and have your home filled with smoke, or worse. 

EXTERIOR

Doors & Windows - Seal any gaps around your windows and doors with weather-stripping and caulking. This will keep your home warm and your heating bills down. 


Walls & Foundation - Check for cracks that could allow moisture in your home. Larger cracks will require a professional, however, hairline cracks can be easily patched with grout or quick-dry cement. 


Lighting - Make sure all your exterior lighting is working as it should be and that nothing needs replacing. It's going to start getting dark much earlier and you'll want to make sure your yard and entryway are properly lit for the safety of yourself and others. 


Outdoor Electrical Outlets - Shut off the power to any outdoor electrical outlets that will not be used during the winter season. Also, cover them with all-weather guards to ensure they're in good condition for next summer. 


LAWN & GARDEN


Trim your trees and shrubs - By giving your trees and shrubs and good trim, it can prevent damage that could be caused by an unexpected snowfall. 


Branches - Remove any risky tree branches that could cause damage in stormy weather, particularly the branches in close proximity to your house, powerlines, or over the roof. 


Rake the leaves - While it may look nice with all the fall leaves blanketing your lawn, if not removed, they can trap moisture and cause your grass to rot. 


Hoses & Faucets - Drain your hoses and store them somewhere inside, they can retain residual water and freeze in the winter causing cracks and breakage if not cared for properly. Insulating any outdoor pipes or faucets can also prevent freezing and damage over the cooler months. 


Patio furniture - Yes, it's called "outdoor furniture" but it's not "all-season furniture". Store your patio furniture in a shed or your garage if possible, or cover with a fitted water-proof tarp. 

INSIDE

Air Con Units - Remove window air conditioning units before the temperatures drop or cover them with an insulated wrap to keep the cold air out. 


Attic - A quick visit up to the attic can save a lot of hassle later on. Check for rodents, moisture, and moldy insulation. These should all be removed, replaced, or fixed before the cool air arrives. 


HVAC - Hire a pro to come in and check your HVAC and replace the filters. New filters can keep your heating costs down and air clean.  


Detectors & Alarms - Test and replace the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms. 


Lose the Lint - Remove the lint from your dryer vents as it can be an extreme fire hazard. This can be done by a professional or you can do on your own if you're able to reach them easily. 


SNOW PREP


Snow supplies - Dig out your shovel and snow blower, move them somewhere handy and easily accessible. 


Rock Salt - Stock up on rock salt now, before the weather freezes so you're prepared. 

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Working from home...the ultimate freedom, right? Actually, it can be quite the opposite if you are not prepared for it. 


While the thought of spending all day in our pajamas and working from the sofa sounds great, chances are, you aren't going to get much done if this is your plan. 


Staying focused, sticking to schedules, and managing our time is extremely important with any job, but it becomes absolutely crucial when we make the decision to work from. 


I've put together a few tips to help keep you focused, productive, and make the most of your work-from-home experience. 



Wake up early


Unfortunately, this is not a vacation and you are still working, wake up the same time that you normally would for work (less commuting time), shower, eat breakfast, and get yourself prepared for the day. Also, begin your workday at the regularly scheduled office hours, this will keep you on your normal routine and be easier for clients to reach you and know your availability. 




Schedule your breaks


When you're in the office, you likely have a couple of 15-minute breaks and a lunch break that are scheduled at certain times throughout the day. Keep the same schedule at home! Your body and mind are attuned to this cycle and you'll find that you will be much more productive if you remain on the same schedule.




Calendar


Your calendar will be just as, if not more, important now that you're working from home. Follow your calendar, check it regularly, and reschedule/reprioritize things that need adjusting. It's extremely easy to get distracted working at home, the laundry needs to be done, dishes need to be washed, the dog wants to play, etc. so sticking to your calendar and regularly updating it will assist in keeping you focused and ensure your tasks are being completed accordingly. 




Prepare for video calls in advance


Unfortunately, pajamas are not acceptable for work-related video calls. Be sure to make yourself presentable, a video call is just as important as an in-person meeting, so you need to bring your best self. Also, be prepared with a notepad and pen, have your coffee ready or a glass of water, whatever you may need during the meeting so that you're not distracted or leaving your desk unless absolutely necessary. 




Move around 


Get up at least once every hour and move your body. Do a quick walk around the house, do some squats, stretches, anything to keep the blood flowing. We spend a lot of time sitting in the office as well, however, we tend to get up to grab something off the printer, ask a colleague a question, walk to the boardroom for a meeting, so when working from home, we need to remember to keep our body moving, even if it's just in short burst every hour or so. 




Mornings vs afternoons


You're likely going to be a lot more motivated in the morning, so I strongly suggest scheduling your high priority tasks for the morning and working on things that are less urgent in the afternoons.




Pro tip: Don't save the "boring" tasks for the afternoons, it may seem like a good idea but when you've lost your daily motivation and focus, it's going to be extremely hard to concentrate on these tasks. 




Social media and news 


Unless Facebook is your employer, I strongly suggest avoiding this website during working hours. If you enjoy reading the news or catching up on social media, do this first thing in the morning, spend no more than 30 minutes and then get on with your regularly scheduled workday.  




Working from home is an adjustment for all of us, it's not something that we are accustomed to and it can be hard to settle into. I hope these tips will assist you in making the best of your work-from-home experience! 

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A comfortable and functional space to work at home is almost a necessity these days.  Many people are working from due to COVID or simply because they have been offered this opportunity by their employers.


Working from home always seems like a dream come true, however, if you don't have an appropriate space, it can become quite the opposite.


Here are a few ideas on how you can create your home office on a budget: 


Choosing a room

Choose a room that has plenty of natural light or can be painted with bright neutral colours.  You don't need to give up an entire bedroom to make a home office, it can often be done in the corner of a larger room, but you definitely need to make sure the space is bright and offers you the light you require. 


Furniture

You don't 'need' brand new office furniture, this is something that can be put on hold for the time being. You simply need a space that assists you in getting your job done. Check your garage to see if you have something stored in there that could be used as a desk, ask family, friends, neighbours, or check online for a used desk or chair. When all else fails, use one of your dining room chairs until you can find something affordable. I do suggest having a proper desk or table though, working from the dining room table will be distracting and isn't the most ideal place to focus on your work. 


Equipment

If you're planning to work from home, you likely already have a desktop or laptop computer that you are planning to use. Thankfully these days, most things are digital so you will simply need to ensure that you have a wired internet connection in the are that you've chosen for your office or a strong wifi connection and your cell phone. Unless absolutely needed, there's no need to call in an electrician or handyman to install new hookups. 


Cabinets and storage

As mentioned previously, we are in the digital age, and therefore installing or purchasing file cabinets or storage shelves is likely unnecessary, as most things can be stored online or on your computer. If you do need some storage or file cabinets, these can usually be found at your local thrift stores or at a weekend garage sale. Give them a good clean and they will be near good as new. You can also use things such as plastic totes or smaller 3 - 4 drawer dressers. 


Personalizing

You're likely going to be spending a fair amount of time in your new office, so be sure to make it cozy. Hang some photos, add a couple of plants, maybe even a chalkboard where you can write inspirational and motivational quotes. Another great way to personalize is to hang a corkboard so you can continually recycle the photos or notes that you're looking at, this is also a great place to store some notes of things you regularly refer to. 


What to splurge on

Pens, and I can't stress this enough, there's nothing worse than taking notes with a pen that doesn't write nicely. Spend an extra couple of dollars and get yourself some nice pens. Also, buy yourself a mug warmer to keep your coffee or tea hot while you're working, and maybe a nice thermos style drinking cup to keep your drinking water cold throughout the day. 

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