5 Things Sellers Should Know Before Listing

Stay ahead of the competition by purchasing a pre-listing home inspection

Getting a home inspection before listing your home allows potential buyers to find out everything about your house up front, which can help them put in an offer quickly and confidently. It also enables you to take more time prior to listing your home to research and secure the best price for any updates needed. Lastly, completing repairs before listing your home will give you more negotiating power when offers start rolling in! 

Stage your home to show off its best features

Staging your home will allow potential buyers to see your home’s worth, incentivizing them to present an offer reflecting its maximum value. Staging attracts buyers by adding contemporary and stylish furnishings create a clean aesthetic slate, enabling buyers to see themselves living in the space. It can maximize the full potential of your home’s floor plan, unique features, and ultimately its sale price.

Ensure the first impression is a lasting impression

Sprucing up the exterior of your home is equally important to getting the interior in top shape! Simply by keeping the front yard or porch clean, and brightening it up with a few shrubs or potted plants, you can create a fresh and inviting first look at your home. Give your front door a fresh coat of paint, clean the windows, and change the outdoor light bulbs to a warm hue to brighten up the front porch, so that potential buyers know your home is well cared for, and worth their attention. The same goes for the backyard area; trim any overgrown hedges and grass, and keep things bright and inviting with some outdoor lighting, cheerful flowers, or even a dedicated seating area for entertaining.

Clean, declutter, and make your pending move easier from the start

No matter what type of market you’re listing your home in, cleaning, organizing, and decluttering your space is a surefire way to attract a greater number of potential buyers and higher offers. Spaces with carefully chosen furnishings, lots of light, and minimal clutter highlight a home’s square footage, storage potential, and overall appeal, inside and out. Remove personal touches such as family photos, memorabilia, and personal keepsakes to allow buyers to see what they’re investing in. Move items to an offsite storage area, schedule a garage sale, or put things up for sale on Craigslist, Kijiji, or Facebook Marketplace to make your home feel more spacious. Lastly, keep in mind that cleaning out and organizing your closets, cupboards, and storage spaces will make it easier to move into your new space!

Record Recent Repairs

Money spent may equal money earned! Upgrades like a new roof, furnace, central air, or hot water heater are all important to track, and will increase the potential sale price of your home. Some questions to answer as you document your home’s updates include:

  • What was the cost? 

  • When was the work done? 

  • Who did the work?

These are also important questions that agents, buyers, and mortgage lenders will ask. Creating copies of receipts for installed upgrades or repairs will validate these costs to buyers. Placing this information in one handy spot (like a binder) can be a great idea, and will help to more efficiently promote your home when agents or buyers ask!


20 Beautiful Backyard Design Ideas to Get You Ready for Springtime

If there's one mistake most dwellers make, it's not paying enough attention to the spaces outside of your home. While we appreciate an impeccably designed interior, you'd be remiss not to decorate your backyard with an equal amount of style as any other room inside of your house.

Whether you're working with endless square footage or you have a tiny deck that needs a little something to get you outside more often, we have the inspiration you need to up your backyard design game.

1 | Make It Comfortable

backyard ideas


Do yourself a favor and invest in comfortable outdoor furniture. Extra comfy pieces will call out to you after long days, which will ensure that you're always getting the most of your backyard setup.

2 | Circle Around a Fire

backyard ideas


Gathering around a fire is one of the oldest forms of socializing. There's something to be said about toasting your favorite wine with friends and family outdoors under the stars, huddled around a crackling fire.

While most dwellers only take advantage of this age-old activity when partaking in outdoor activities, like camping or beach bonfires, there's no reason you can't bring the age-old ritual to your very own backyard.

3 | Try Outdoor Curtains

backyard ideas


Installing a rod with outdoor curtains will give your backyard an upscale cabana feel, plus some added privacy for lounging, reading, or hanging by the pool.

QUICK TIP - Outdoor curtains are stars for much more than their good looks—they provide tons of shade on extra sunny days.

4 | Warm Things Up

backyard ideas


An impeccably decorated backyard will inevitably make your home the go-to for outdoor gatherings all season long. Our best advice is to be prepared for chillier nights. Invest in an outdoor heater to keep your guests comfortable after the sun goes down.

5 | Install Statement Lighting

backyard ideas


If you have a pergola, here's your sign to dress it up with statement overhead lighting. Hang a cluster of paper lanterns and fairy lights from the beams and you've got yourself an outdoor take on a modern chandelier.

6 | Make It Kid-Friendly

backyard ideas


Whether all your friends have kids or it's just your little ones running around, creating an outdoor space that's kid and parent-friendly will make the perfect backdrop for lifetime memories. We're building this snow cone station in our own backyards stat.

7 | Give Old Pieces New Life

Backyard Designs


Redesigning your backyard can be expensive. If you have some family heirlooms lying around, here's the perfect place to display them. If you don't, there's never a bad time to visit a thrift store.

QUICK TIP - Not only is it easy on your wallet, the final look will have just the perfect amount of old-world charm.

8 | Upcycle Your Outdoor Furniture

backyard designs


Sometimes, the coolest furniture pieces are the ones you can't buy. Don't believe us? This table was made with a piece of scrap metal and a slab of stone for the top—and still looks utterly chic.

9 | Try the Rattan Trend

backyard designs


There's no better time than spring to try the rattan trend, but the good news is the timeless look will look fabulous in your home all year round. Potted plants and string lights will make it the most Instagrammable backyard on the block.

10 | Plan for Outdoor Entertaining

backyard designs


If you pride yourself on being the hostess with the mostess, the ultimate backyard showpiece is elusive outdoor movie screen. A tent and plenty of floor cushions cozy things up and make it the perfect place to crash under the stars when the movie runs late.

11 | Make It Dinner-Party Ready

backyard ideas


As the weather warms up, you're going to want to spend more time outdoors. Designate a space for dinners al fresco and keep it dinner-party ready with plenty of seating, outdoor lighting and fresh flowers clipped from your garden to dress up your table.

12 | Keep a Well-Stocked Bar Cart

backyard designs


Nothing gets a backyard boogie going quite like a well-stocked bar cart. Some ice, sparkling water, and citrus garnishes will keep your guests hydrated—and it looks cute to boot.

13 | Go With Fancy Tiles

backyard designs


When you think of fancy patterned tiles, formal dining rooms might come to mind. But if your budget allows, installing a statement tile in your outdoor space will transport you to a resort on the Italian coast.

14 | Think Outside The (Furniture) Box

backyard designs


Take it back to basics with a rustic setup like this backyard retreat. Set up some seating made of tree stumps—just like our ancestors did it—and stock the space with plenty of cozy blankets and tools for cooking the perfect s'more.

QUICK TIP - This rustic approach will make for a backyard campsite you'll never want to pack up.

15 | Create Entertaining Zones

backyard designs


The secret to a well-balanced backyard lies in the layout. Creating entertaining zones, like a cozy seating area and separate dining space, will ensure that your guests always feel at home. And when you're not hosting, you have plenty of lounging options to enjoy.

16 | Establish a Colour Story

backyard ideas


Creating and sticking to a gorgeous colour story will make your outdoor space look so polished. We love this royal blue setup that includes porcelain plates and lumbar pillows on each chair, which pop against the wooden tabletop.

17 | Soak Up the Sun

backyard ideas


Whether your backyard boasts a sparkling pool or not, a couple of outdoor chaise loungers make your space the perfect place to lay out and work on your tan.

18 | DIY a Fire Pit

backyard ideas


Fire pits can sometimes be expensive, and if we're being honest, sometimes the best home décor items are the ones you take to make yourself. An afternoon DIY project, some boulders, and some firewood can provide backyard entertainment for years to come.

19 | Bring On the Old-World Charm

backyard ideas


It's often proven that less is actually more and this backyard setup is what we mean. The rustic, solid wood dining table and chairs in this adorable home will make you think you're in your very own Moroccan hideaway.

20 | Install an Outdoor Shower

backyard ideas


There's nothing like an al-fresco shower on a sunny spring day. Install an outdoor shower head and switch up your shower routine all season long.

Which of these ideas is your favourite?! Share your thoughts on my Facebook or Instagram page, or leave a comment below!

Source: MyDomaine


Neighbourhood Spotlight: Guildwood Village

I'm kicking off my brand new Neighbourhood Spotlight series with a highlight on my local neighbourhood for over three decades, Guildwood Village.

Nestled between the Scarborough Bluffs to the south, Kingston Road and the CN rail tracks to the north, Grey Abbey Trail to the east and Scarborough Golf Club to the west, Guildwood is a small residential neighbourhood full of unique homes, scenic views, parks, great schools, and a real community feel.

Check out my take on Guildwood's best features and property stats below!

Best Neighbourhood Features

  • Mature tree-lined streets with a mix of unique mid-century era detached, semi-detached, and split-level homes on well-sized property lots. Hidden cul-de-sacs and winding roads add charm to the neighbourhood.

  • The modernized Guildwood GO station makes commuting to and from the core a breeze, with both commuter and express trains running frequently, and local bus routes connect the neighbourhood to TTC Subways

  • The Scarborough Bluffs form the southern edge of the neighbourhood, with stunning views of Lake Ontario, and nature trails winding down to a walking path at the water’s edge


The Scarborough Bluffs

  • The Guild Park and Gardens are home to the recently renovated Guild Inn Estate, now a restaurant and event space. It is home to more than 60 architectural pieces from demolished Toronto buildings. Founded in 1932 as 'The Guild of All Arts' it was a retreat for artists and craftsmen, and later on used as an official Naval base and a specialized military hospital during WWII

  • Has 3 public schools that collectively cover Kindergarten to grade 12, as well as a Catholic secondary school

The Greek Theatre, at The Guildwood Village Park & Gardens


Guildwood Village Market Activity

Here's a look at property sales in Guildwood Village in February 2021: 

Looking to buy or sell in Guildwood Village? Please reach out to me!


10 Tips for First Time Home Buyers

Searching for your first home is so exciting, but it can also be stressful. If you are ready to start your journey into home ownership, here are 10 tips to help you get started!

1. Know how much you can afford

This is the first and most important thing you need to consider before embarking on the search for your first home!

Banks and other lenders have formulas to determine how much you can afford to borrow, but they don’t always have your best interest in mind. Just because the bank approves you for a certain amount doesn’t mean you can actually afford to carry a mortgage of that amount. Your dream might be to purchase a character home in an established neighbourhood, but you might only be working with a budget for a condo.

This is why it's so important to do your own research and crunch the numbers yourself to make sure that you feel confident that you can afford the payments. Don’t forget to factor in child care expenses, retirement savings, and the cost of your lifestyle, as well as any other expenses you may have or that you anticipate having. Start by using this mortgage calculator!

Once you've done your research, speak with a mortgage broker and get at least two quotes for your pre-approval. Getting pre-approved for your mortgage gives you an edge over other people who might be interested in the same property as you. The seller will know that you are a serious buyer, and you are able to confidently negotiate the purchase of a home.

However, don't make the mistake of overbuying on your first home. You would be better off with smaller payments on a starter home so that you have the freedom and flexibiliy to save and spend how you'd like. Remember that you can always move up to a larger property later on!

2. What’s on your wish list?

Before you start seriously shopping for your first home, you should determine what your needs and wants are. Create a list of features that you are willing to compromise on, and prioritize the ones that you need to have. By doing this, you will be able to narrow your house search down to properties that truly fit your needs, and will make your decision much easier.

3. Be flexible!

You should of course have fun with the home buying process, but remember that to be successful, you need to be realistic and open-minded. You may not be able to find a home with everything you're looking for within your budget, so be prepared to prioritize and compromise if necessary. Being flexible to the possibility of exploring other locations or types of homes will go a long way in helping you land the home that's perfect for you.

4. Understand your different payment options

You can pay for your mortgage in a variety of ways, including monthly, bi-weekly, and weekly payment options. Paying off your mortgage sooner will save you thousands of dollars in interest costs, while a longer amortization period will reduce your regular payments and frees up cash in your budget. You can use this online mortgage calculator to help you decide what payment schedule is right for you.

Some mortgages also give you the ability to make extra lump sum payments, or the option to skip a payment. Make sure you understand what your options are, and that you are comfortable with the terms.

5. Aim for a 20% down payment

Your down payment should be at least 5% of the price, but it is highly recommended that all first time home buyer aim to put down 20% of the value of the home in order to qualify for a conventional mortgage. If you have money in your RRSPs, you can use up to $25,000 towards the purchase of your first home.

If you want to buy a home with a down payment of less than 20%, you’ll need mortgage loan insurance. Your lender pays an insurance premium on mortgage loan insurance. It’s calculated as a percentage of the mortgage and is based on the size of your down payment. Your lender will likely pass this cost on to you, which you can pay in a lump sum or add it to your mortgage and include it in your payments.

Also it is crucial to remember that what you have saved for a down payment isn’t necessarily the amount you will end up using. You will want to keep back a little cash for closing costs, minor repairs or furniture for your new home, and moving expenses. Which brings us to our next tip...

6. Keep a budget for closing and incidental costs

Closing costs can range anywhere from 1.5% to 3.5% of the total cost of your home. You can expect to pay for some or all of the following:

• Home inspection fee

• Legal fees
• Property transfer tax
• Appraisal fee
• Land transfer tax
• Title insurance
• Interest adjustment

• Moving costs

• Property and fire insurance

• Another month of rent (in case the closing date is extended)

• Renovations you may want to make before moving in

If you'd like to get a better idea of what each of these costs may be, please reach out to me, I'd be happy to walk you through this.

7. Find your own Realtor

So you've been scrollng through listings online and come across the one that looks absolutely perfect. You decide to hit the Contact Me button to connect with the listing agent. Stop there! Why, you ask? Because the listing agent's obligation is to the Seller and they work for their best interests, not yours as the Buyer.

It's so important that you find a Realtor that you connect with and that represents you, as the Buyer, in any transaction. It's the job of your Realtor to look after your needs and to negotiate on your behalf. So don't make the mistake of going with the listing agent of that property you love - always do your research and find your own Realtor, no matter what you may hear!

8. Request a home inspection

While it's true that including a condition for a home inspection (if it's not already available) may affect your offer being accepted in a highly competitive market, the risks truly outweigh the consequences in this situation. If you have a tight budget with limited allowance for necessary home improvements (no matter whether it's an older home or a newer build), it's important that you don't blindly commit without understanding what you're getting into. This is a surefire way to prevent buyer's remorse.

9. Don't be afraid to ask lots of questions

There are no silly questions when it comes to buying your first home! If you're not sure about something, need more information or need clarification, always ask. As with anything, it's always better to ask lots of questions, especially when it comes to one of the biggest financial decisions of your life.

10. Once you find your home, stop looking!

It’s the golden rule for choosing anything from a car to a wedding dress to a life partner – once you’ve found what you are looking for – stop looking! The same goes for a house. Once you’ve gotten the keys to your home, instead of looking for something better than what you have, focus your energy on making the space your own.

If you found these tips helpful, please share this blog post with others!

Questions about any of these tips, or about the home buying process? Please reach out to me, I would be happy to help!


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