Selling Your Home

Assessment Day

Not only does January 1 mark New Years Day (New Year, New Home anyone?) but it also marks what has become a ritual for many – checking the value of their home on BC Assessment.
Every January 1 BC Assessment releases the assessed value of properties across BC on their website. Here’s the link if you want to check it out:
Here’s some things you should know though before checking it out:
1) This is the value, according to BC assessment, as at July 1 of the previous year (in this case 2018).
2) Because your BC Assessment increase, or decreased, does not mean that your taxes will as well. It is weighed against your neighbours properties. So if your home went down, but the average in your city actually went up, then your properties taxes would be going down, and vice-versa.
3) These assessments are not gospel and should not be seen as an accurate valuation of your home! They’re not an accurate measure of the value of your home as at July 1, and they are certainly not an accurate measure of the value of your home today. The assessment is very general, and does not take into condition anything to do with the condition of your home or renovations. BC Assessment is often working with incorrect information when it comes to rooms, sizes, number of bathrooms, etc.
Takeaway: While it’s fun to take a look at the BC Assessment Values, don’t take them as Gospel. Take them as what they are, a government tool for assessing taxes. If you want a real idea of the value of your home, call us. The only way you’re going to get a true idea of the value of your home is by taking to an experienced, knowledgeable Realtor(r) and having them give you a proper home evaluation.
But hey, I guess you would always rely on the internet. What is it that they say? You can believe everything you hear on the internet?

7 Ways to Make a lasting First Impression on Buyers

You never get a second chance to make a first impression, and when selling your home first impressions can make or break your sale.  Good news, making the best impression on home buyers is not hard (piece of cake, really), so let’s get started on our top 7 ways to get your home ‘sale ready’:


  1. Curb Appeal!
  • Mow the lawn, prune bushes, dead head flowers, mulch, edge walk-ways, drive ways & garden beds, pull all the weeds you can find, and remove any toys, lawn furniture or garden implements that are visible.


  1. Make a Grand Entrance!
  • Clean your front door, make sure the door bell works, update door handles if necessary, make sure outdoor lighting works, sweep, power wash & add some colourful potted plants near the front door way to add warmth and colour.


  1. Get Behind Your Electrical!
  • Walk through your home and turn on every light switch. Do all lights work?  Replace any lightbulbs that are burnt out, and repair any electrical that is not working.


  1. Get the Grime Out!
  • Clean, clean, clean, clean & then clean some more. Every room needs to sparkle.  Scrub all bathrooms top to bottom, all kitchen appliances inside & out, floors, walls, windows, closets need to be organized, clean, clean, clean, clean!


  1. Go Clutter Free!
  • Buyers need to see themselves living in your home, so store all collections, small kitchen appliances (blenders, toasters, etc), Knick knacks, tooth brushes and bathroom acessories – essentially anything and everything that can be stored, should be stored….Neatly & in organized fashion.


  1. Follow Your Nose!
  • Your house should smell good. Whether it’s pets, your cooking, cigarettes, dust & mildew, or just life, your home needs to smell good….It needs to NOT smell like you and your family.  Invest in some good, neutral air freshener scents and make sure to use them prior to any showings.


  1. Move From Past to Present!
  • If your home has not seen an update in the last 10 years, it’s likely time to invest in some. Thoughtful updates do not need to be expensive. New hardware (handles) on kitchen & bathroom cupboards, painting existing kitchen and bathroom cupboards, painting walls, updating light fixtures, caulking seams though out your home and new window coverings are all inexpensive ways to add a touch of modern to any home.  For those with larger budgets who ae looking to make a huge impact before selling, concentrate on the kitchen, bathroom, and floors for best return.


At the end of the day, when you are selling your home you need to remember that all buyers want to picture themselves living in the homes they are viewing.  This means you need to remove yourself from the eye (and nose) of buyer.

Staging Your Home: How to Make Buyers Fall in Love

With these tips and tricks, your house will be swoon-worthy in no time.


All the world’s a stage, said the Bard.

That includes your house. Which is for sale. And thus needs to look bee-yoo-tee-ful.

Staging entails hiring experts with a flair for interior design. They reimagine your living space and give your house a makeover (with temporary decor and furnishings) so that it gets “oohs” and “aahs” from the buying masses.

Great staging isn’t an insurance policy — there’s no guarantee it will bring in more money when you sell your home — but it’s an important marketing tool. It presents your house in a flattering light and helps you compete at a favorable price. (In that sense, staging is like dressing your house for the price you want, and not the price you have.)

Staging also leads to eye-catching listing photos, which are especially valuable given that most homebuyers begin their search by scrolling through listings online.

So, are you thinking about hiring stagers for your home? Here’s what to consider.


Staging Really Does Help. Like, a Lot.

But you don’t have to take our word for it. A recent survey from the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® revealed that:

  • 77% of buyers’ agents said staging makes it easier for their buyer to visualize the property as their future home. It’s like helping the buyer dream it so they can achieve it — and so you and your agent can make the sale.
  • 39% of sellers’ agents said staging a home greatly decreases the amount of time a house is on the market. For you, time saved could mean moving into your new house even sooner.
  • 21% of sellers’ agents said staging a home increases its dollar value between 6% and 10%. Simply put, that may lead to more money in your pocket.

Before You Stage, Budget Accordingly

Many listings agents offer staging services to clients as part of their services. If you want to use someone you find yourself, you typically will have to pay out of pocket.

Staging costs vary depending on where you live and how many rooms you’re staging. On average, home sellers pay between $302 and $1,358 for staging, according to If your house is empty because you’ve already moved, you might also have additional expenses for renting furniture and other homey decorations to make it look lived-in.

Many stagers offer consultations for as low as $150, reports. Using the advice you learn during the consultation to try DIY staging may be your best option if you’re on a tight budget. Listen for tips on how to use the furniture and decor you already have to show off your home’s best assets.


For the Best Results, Declutter

Spoiler alert: No buyer wants to walk into a messy house.

So, take time to clean and declutter your home. Organize everyday household items into crates and keep them out of sight. Stow away seasonal decorations (that means no Christmas in July). Make time for — or invest in — a whole-house cleaning, including carpet shampooing. Change lightbulbs, finally make those minor repairs, and add a fresh coat of paint to any room that needs it.  Clean out closet spaces — because buyers will want to check out the closets.

Also worth considering? Removing personal items from view, such as copious family photos, artwork, or religious keepsakes. The concern is not that home buyers will be offended by you or your lifestyle. The goal is to neutralize the space and help home buyers imagine themselves living there. (But don’t go overboard. You don’t want rooms to feel sterile, either.)

Yes, we did just tell you to clean out your closets. So where are you supposed to put all this stuff? If you don’t have a discrete place to tuck things away, consider renting a storage unit.


To Find the Right Stager for Your Home, Ask Questions

If your agent doesn’t offer staging services, he or she can likely recommend local stagers for you to work with. Before you hire a stager, it’s best to interview at least three candidates in person. You’ll want to get a sense of how much they charge — and whether they have good taste.

To do your due diligence, here are 10 questions to ask prospective stagers:

  1. On average, how many days were your staged homes on the market last year?Experience is important, but it’s not the only factor to consider when vetting stagers. You want someone who stages homes that sell — ideally within 30 days, because that’s when agents often recommend making a price reduction if your house is still on the market.
  2. What price range do you typically work in? Staging luxury homes is a totally different ball game than staging starter homes. Find someone who specializes in homes near your listing price.
  3. What styles of homes do you usually stage? Staging different types of homes also requires different skill sets (think of a penthouse versus a bungalow, for instance). Look for someone with experience working in homes similar to yours.
  4. What formal training have you received? A number of staging organizations, such as the Real Estate Staging Association (RESA) and the International Association of Home Staging Professionals (IAHSP), offer certification or accreditation. Training from these associations can distinguish professional stagers from beginners.
  5. Do you have insurance? Your home could get damaged when the stager moves furniture in and out. Find someone with business insurance so that you’re protected.
  6. Can I see your portfolio? One of the best ways to judge a stager’s skills is to look at their work. Ask to see photos from the person’s three most recently staged homes.
  7. Do you select the accessories, furniture, and paint for the homes you stage, or do you collaborate with other experts? Some stagers work independently, while others collaborate with other vendors. Make sure you know everyone who will be involved in staging your home, so you don’t have surprise guests rearranging your living room.
  8. What are your rates? Some stagers charge a fee for decorating services, plus a monthly fee for renting furniture, while others charge a flat fee per room for the duration of the listing. Ask about how a stager determines costs before you commit to working with him or her.
  9. What’s your availability? If you’re on a tight timetable, make sure the stager can get your house ready by the date you want to put your house on the market.
  10. Can you provide contacts for past clients? Get in touch with two or three people who have worked with the stager before. Ask how the stager’s services helped with the sale of their homes, and what they might have done differently.

Focus On the Rooms That Count the Most

You don’t have to stage your whole house to make buyers swoon.

Staging the rooms where people tend to spend the most time usually makes the biggest impression on buyers. Start with the living room,

followed by the master bedroom and the kitchen.

Keep in mind that you’re not going for an HGTV-worthy overhaul: Even small touches, like putting fluffy towels in the bathroom or replacing shabby throw pillows in the family room, can make your home that much more attractive.


Oh, and BTW: Stage Your Yard, Too

Your house has to look its best — inside and outside. After all, buyers form their first impression when they pull up in front of your home. It’s no surprise, then, that curb appeal — how your home looks from the exterior — can increase your home’s sales value up to 17%, a Texas Tech University study found.

If you’ve never had your yard professionally landscaped, now may be the time to do it. Landscaped homes have a sales price advantage ranging from 5.5% to 12.7%, according to research by Alex Niemiera, a horticulturist at Virginia Tech. That would mean an extra $16,500 to $38,100 in value on a $300,000 home.

Professional landscaping, however, can cost a lot. You’re aiming for polish, not a new garden of Versailles. If budget is a concern, start with these DIY improvements:

  • Plant blooming flowers and fresh greenery. Even if it’s winter, you can add colorful winter blooms and seasonal touches such as garland or lights.
  • Mow the grass.
  • Reseed bare patches of lawn and add fresh sod, as needed.

Then move on to these easy upgrades to your home’s exterior:

  • Wash the front windows.
  • Power wash siding and walkways.
  • Repaint or stain porches and stairs, as needed.
  • Make sure house numbers are easy to see, visible, and pretty.
  • Make sure important outdoor features such as the front door, porch, and sidewalks and paths are well lit. (If not, install new fixtures or lighting.)

Even basic upgrades — like laying fresh mulch, changing porch lights, or installing a new mailbox — can help a buyer fall in love at first sight.

Just wait ’til they come inside and see what else you’ve done with the place.

Best, worst Tri-City ’hoods to buy a condo or townhome

New ranking examines relative value and price-growth potential – and the results may surprise you.


East Coquitlam has been named the best neighbourhood in the Tri-Cities to buy a condo, and nearby Mary Hill in PoCo is the place to go for a townhome, according to a new report by real estate website Zolo.

The rankings were the result of extensive study of all of Greater Vancouver’s MLS neighbourhoods, through which Zolo created a value score for each area based on a series of factors. These included: relative value of an average home compared with surrounding areas and the overall municipality; price appreciation over the past five years and potential for future growth; and the economic strength of the area combined with WalkScores and Transit scores.


Not just the best neighbourhoods in the Tri-Cities, East Coquitlam was named the entire Greater Vancouver region’s top area to buy a condo, and Mary Hill was placed highest for townhouses overall. (Full Greater Vancouver rankings here.)

Romana King, Zolo’s director of content, said on BTVancouver, “Why? Both areas have great commuter access, great access to the highway by car, great access to the [new] SkyTrain stations around there, great parks. These are great places to raise a family.”

At the other end of the scale, the Citadel neighbourhood in Port Coquitlam was named the “worst” area in the Tri-Cities to buy a condo in 2018, and PoCo’s Riverwood the worst for a townhome. The “worst” means that either the area is not good value compared with other neighbourhoods, or that it has less potential for price growth, or that it is low-priced for a reason, according to Zolo.

King wrote in the report, “Value isn’t synonymous with cheap, especially in real estate. Cheaper housing prices can occur for a variety of reasons — not all of them good. Instead, we wanted to find neighbourhoods that haven’t appreciated as much as surrounding communities but have access to the same amenities and social values as these higher-priced neighbouring ’hoods. In essence, we are looking for affordable, good neighbourhoods that are poised to increase in value.”

Check out the infographic below for Zolo’s top 10 areas on the North Shore to buy either a condo or a townhome, and below that, Zolo’s 10 “worst” North Shore areas to buy a condo or townhome. Do you agree with the results?



Zolo’s 10 Worst Neighbourhoods to Buy a Condo in Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam & Port Moody in 2018

  1. Citadel, Port Coquitlam – $1,038,000
  2. Burke Mountain, Coquitlam – $519,900
  3. Scott Creek, Coquitlam – $395,000
  4. Riverwood, Port Coquitlam – $472,938
  5. Heritage Mountain, Port Moody – $672,000
  6. Westwood Plateau, Coquitlam – $503,917
  7. College Park, Port Moody – $330,027
  8. North Shore, Port Moody – $636,243
  9. Eagle Ridge, Coquitlam – $396,456
  10. Canyon Springs, Coquitlam – $415,135

Zolo’s 10 Worst Neighbourhoods to Buy a Townhouse in Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam & Port Moody in 2018

  1. Riverwood, Port Coquitlam – $666,116
  2. College Park, Port Moody – $610,356
  3. Woodland Acres, Port Coquitlam – $622,600
  4. Birchland Manor, Port Coquitlam – $503,968
  5. Burke Mountain, Coquitlam – $776,386
  6. Heritage Mountain, Port Moody – $799,063
  7. North Shore, Port Moody – $513,983
  8. Ranch Park, Coquitlam – $578,571
  9. Citadel, Port Coquitlam – $545,407
  10. Maillardville, Coquitlam – $545,407




Overpriced homes and how to identify them.


Whether you are in the market to buy a new home, or you are planning on selling your current home it is important to do your homework before coming up with a price.

Putting the wrong price tag on a property can be the difference of your house selling in days, months, or getting into a house that is not worth what you paid for it.

An experienced agent can definitely help in this process but here are a few tips to help you along the way.


Look at current or recent home sales in your neighbourhood.

It is very important to look at current homes for sale in the neighbourhood, also homes that have recently sold.

The listing price may vary from the selling price that’s why it is imperative to look at what the house actually sold for.



Has the home been on the market for a long time? 

There are a lot of homes that sell within weeks if not days of being on the market.  These homes are typically priced according to the current market.

When a property sits on the market for weeks or months it usually means it is overpriced.

If the flow of interest and offers on other houses in the neighbourhood are good but are lacking on this property it is usually and indication that the property is not fairly priced and may need to be evaluated again.



Home improvements.

If the home has a bunch of minor improvements, or if the home has been customized for the old owners benefit this can cause a home to be overpriced. (Not everyone needs a built in tennis court, swimming pool, or theatre room). However an upgraded bathroom or kitchen will add value.

Only large improvements should reflect in the overall selling price of a home.




If the home is in a low income area, near railroad tracks, or the local schools have a poor rating these will all factor into determining what a house is worth.

If the house is in a pristine area the house will have a greater value than being in a less desirable area.



Overpriced homes can be easy to spot once you know what to look for.

Competitively priced homes will often get multiple offers which will drive the price up anyways so very unlikely you will sell your home for less than what it is worth.

It is in your best interest to contact a trusted realtor to help insure you do not pay or try and sell for too much. This will save you a lot of stress and headaches in the future.

If you follow these few steps you will have the right info to help make the proper decision.

What you need to know about downsizing.

For many homeowners, a time will come when your current home is just too big.  Children grow up and move away, and parents are left with a home that is just too large.  When a home becomes too much to deal with it is best to downsize.  Most people are unaware of how much work it takes to make this happen.  Below are a few tips on what you need to know about downsizing before you begin.


Compare the space you have, to the space you will have.

A great tip is to get a copy of the floor plan of your new space and compare it to the rooms you have to the ones you will have.  For example if your new living room is the same size as your current bedroom, try and visualize your sofas in there – if they won`t fit you may have to give one away or invest in a smaller set.

You don’t have to get rid of everything.

Downsizing and minimalizing are about getting down to the basics of what you actually need.  Keep items that are meaningful and unique like that precious statue that has been hand made by a loved one, the painting you painted in tenth grade.  Instead, get rid of the fake flowers and the coaster sets you have accumulated over the years.

Pick one area to work on at a time.

Instead of doing a little bit here and a little there, you will notice your hard work if you focus on one specific area at a time.  Maybe you start in your closet and get rid of clothes you haven`t worn in the last year, or clothes that no longer fit you, or that our no longer your style.  Throw out socks without a match, or ones that have holes, worn out shoes, old hats and gloves.  You can fill a box or a bag a day to either throw out, sell, or donate.

Digitalize whatever you can.

CD`s, DVD`s, cassettes, home videos, pictures, and important documents can all be digitized and saved either to the cloud, or a computer hard drive to free up some important space.  While you will need to keep hard copies of important personal documents such as passports and birth certificates, all other personal and financial papers can be scanned and saved.  You will be surprised as to how much space is actually needed for all of these items.

You don’t have to throw everything out.

Decluttering doesn`t mean it all must go to the landfill.  You may as well try and make some money back from all the hard earned dollars you spent on these items over the years.  Once you have decided what you want to keep, and not keep have a yard sale or sell items online. Like they say “One mans junk is another mans treasure“.  Once you have the money in hand it will make getting rid of all that stuff a little easier to swallow.  Once you have sold all you can, donate whatever is left to a homeless shelter or your local goodwill.


Just remember it will seem harder than it is.  Just take it step by step and room by room, and you will get there.  Think of it as exercise – It isn`t always pleasant while doing it, but leaves you with a much lighter feeling afterwards.  Good luck and happy downsizing.
























Spring Home Maintenance Checklist

Spring is in the air!  Sun is shining, birds are chirping and home maintenance tasks need your attention.  Here is a quick checklist to keep your home in tip top shape this spring.


  • Replace furnace filters an have a technician inspect your furnace / air conditioner
  • Clean windows inside & out, as well as window tracks. Make sure weep holes are not blocked and lubricate any openers that are sticky
  • Inspect caulking (inside and out), and touch-up or replace where needed
  • Replace batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Vacuum lint from dryer vents
  • Vacuum all furnace vents in your home
  • Remove / donate any items that you are no longer using (rule of thumb: if you have not used it in a year, get rid of it)
  • Give your home a deep clean – all closets, cupboards, drawers top to bottom. Scrub baseboards and walls.



  • Inspect your roof and make sure the winter months have not damaged any of your shingles
  • Clean gutters and downspouts and make sure all drainage pipes are faced away from walls and foundation
  • Turn your exterior water supply back on and check for leaks
  • Reseal exterior wood work, (decks, trellises, fences, railings). Staining or resealing every year helps them to last longer
  • Inspect for termites. If there are a bunch of winged insects flying out of a hole in woodwork, call a professional pest control technician immediately
  • Check exterior paint and retouch if needed. If you are planning to repaint your whole house exterior, spring is the best time to take action
  • Inspect your driveways, paths and concrete retaining walls & patch any holes or cracks
  • Check all irrigation systems if you have them
  • Remove first signs of weeds
  • Rake any fallen leaves, branches or debris from winter months
  • Fertilize your lawn
  • Clear dead plants and shrubs from the home
  • Check trees for interference with power lines and prune where necessary