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How to “Spring’ Into the Spring Real Estate Market

How to “Spring’ Into the Spring Real Estate Market

How to ‘Spring’ Into the Spring Real Estate Market

Hooray! We made it! Spring is (finally) almost here! Time to say goodbye to Old Man Winter and hello to a fresh new season. It’s also time to say hello to the spring real estate market. 

Although winter can be a great time to sell or purchase a new home, historically, spring is one of the busiest times in real estate. If you are looking to get in on the spring real estate action, here are 4 easy ways to be on top of your real estate game: 

  • Spring clean and organize 

Now that spring is on its way, it’s time to refresh and reorganize. A good spring clean will not only help to lift your spirits, it will also ensure that your home or condo is in tip-top shape if you are intending to sell this season. 

If the task of spring cleaning your home seems daunting, you can try breaking it down into smaller chunks. Focus on cleaning the kitchen from top to bottom one day and organizing and putting away any winter items you no longer need. 

For creative organization tips and tricks, check out our Pinterest. It is a great source for helpful cleaning, organizing and storage solution ideas. 

When thinking about spring cleaning, remember to include the outside of your home too! Cleaning decks, patios and patio furniture and getting your gardens ready will help to increase curb appeal and help to get your home ready to wow potential buyers. 

  • Make a list 

If you’re looking for a new home this spring, it’s essential to have a clear idea of what you are looking for. Sit down as a family and brainstorm features you would like to see in your new home. Include things like the number of bathrooms and bedrooms, location, yard size, and any specific features like granite countertops or minimal stairs for example. 

When thinking of your dream home, it can be easy to get a bit carried away. Remember to keep your budget in mind when creating your list. You may even want to create two lists; one list of things you need to have and another list of things that can be considered nice to have – but not mandatory. 

  • Research the market 

Once you have a solid grasp of the features you are looking for in your new home, you’ll want to do a little market research. There have been some changes recently in real estate that you should know about in order to prepare for the spring market, depending on your location. For example, home sales in some areas across the Province have slowed down a little due, in part, to rising interest rates and new mortgage stress test regulations. This means that we might be transitioning from a Sellers’ market to a Buyers’ market (good news for buyers, not so much for sellers).  However, if the low inventory of product available continues, prices may remain the same or even rise, especially if interest rates stay static due to the volatile economic situation. In other words, it is unknown what kind of market will present itself in the spring, so preparation for either a Sellers’ or Buyers’ market is key to your success whether you are considering selling or buying.  Additionally, as a Buyer, if you get pre-approved for a mortgage before your spring house-hunting begins, you’ll know exactly what amount of a mortgage you’re approved for so that there are no surprises, and you’ll be in a better position to compete for that new home if there is a lot of interest or even a bidding war. 

  • Find a real estate agent that ‘gets you’

Finally, once you’ve done a little research, it’s time to look for a Realtor® that truly ‘gets you’. Your Realtor® will help you understand current market conditions and will know the details about your local market. They’ll also ensure that your best interests are protected, meaning that your home sells for the right price, and/or you purchase a home that is within budget and a great match for you and your family. 

If you’re selling your home or condo in Collingwood, Wasaga Beach, Grey Highlands, Blue Mountain or the Georgian Triangle area, talk to us at Clairwood Real Estate. We pride ourselves on ‘getting our clients’ and putting your interests first. Connect with us today at 705-445-7085 to find out how our top team of Realtors® can help!

Should I Stay or Should I Go? 5 Signs That It’s Time to Sell

Should I Stay or Should I Go? 5 Signs That It’s Time to Sell

Should I Stay or Should I Go? 5 Signs That It’s Time to Sell

The decision to sell your home is not always clear-cut. On the one hand, the additional expenses you may encounter preparing for an open house to wow potential buyers and the thought of packing everything into boxes might have you second guessing that whole moving thing. You might also still be attached to the home you currently live in. On the other hand, a new place to call home that better fits your family’s needs and lifestyle is an exciting prospect. If you’re still on the fence, here are 5 signs that it’s definitely time to sell.

  • You have too little house

Expanding families need room to grow. If you find that the cute little 2-bedroom bungalow you bought in Collingwood five years ago just doesn’t cut it anymore when it comes to space, it’s likely the right time to put the For-Sale sign on the front yard. Just remember, before looking for a new space to call home, it’s a good idea to create a list of features you want in your new place and add adequate space and room to grow to your list as a top priority. 

  • You have too much house

You may also find yourself in the opposite position. If your children are now adults themselves with homes and families of their own, you may just feel like you have too much house. In this case, it makes sense to downsize and find a smaller home and property. Not only will you spend less time maintaining your home, you’ll also likely save money on things like property taxes, heating costs and other costs associated with owning a home (which means more money to do the things you’ve always wanted to do – hello European vacation!) 

  • Your location doesn’t fit your lifestyle 

Although you may like the home you live in now, it may be the location that’s just not quite right. If you love nature and the outdoors but live in a city for example, it might be time to find a better fit. Alternatively, you may find that you live too far from work and your commute is making it hard to find that elusive work/life balance. Whatever the case, if your location isn’t right, it’s time to start looking for one that best suits you. Life is short; let’s enjoy it as much as we can! 

  • You have a new job opportunity 

An exciting, new job opportunity is another reason to say goodbye to your current digs and start searching for a new place to call home. For example, if you or your spouse were recently offered a position at a company or organization in the Georgian Triangle and are not from this region, it’s time to start your search for a new place, and lucky you – there are so many reasons why it’s great to live in this area!). 

  • You want to move closer to family

One more final reason to decide that it’s time to sell – to move closer to family. If you currently live far from your family or close friends and feel like there’s something missing, selling your current home and moving closer is always a good idea. To quote Rod Stewart, ‘You can go through life wondering what it is all about but at the end of the day, it’s all about family.‘

 

If it’s time to sell (or buy) in Collingwood, Grey County, Wasaga Beach, Blue Mountains, Meaford or the Georgian Triangle, our Clairwood Real Estate team is the one to call. We know the area, the market and how to get you the best price in the right time frame. Call us today at 705-445-7085!

 

 

 

Preparing Your Home for Old Man Winter

Preparing Your Home for Old Man Winter

Winter can certainly wreak havoc on our homes. Damage from ice, snow, rain and cold can be quite significant and costly. It is Canada after all, and yes, we happen to live in a snow belt, but it’s not just winter we are preparing for, it’s also the dreaded spring thaw. Proper planning in the fall allows you to rest easy knowing that all that snow and ice won’t harm your house, or melt into your basement or attic come the spring. Let’s embrace winter and get ready; the good news is that most of these steps you can do yourself!  You’ll increase your home’s efficiency, lower heating bills, avoid costly disasters, and prolong the life of your home and its contents. 

Take a walk around the outside of your home

Start by examining the following areas in and around your home’s exterior. Don’t be alarmed at the length of your list; some of these jobs take just a few short minutes. 

  • Look at your roof. Replace any damaged or missing shingles. 
  • Clear gutters and storm drains of leaves and other debris. You’ll be surprised by what you find. Seal joints or seams, and secure any loose areas.
  • Cover and clean vents and other openings. This prevents birds, insects and rodents from building nests. They’ll work very hard to get into your home, and once they are in, they are impossible to get out. 
  • Caulk gaps. Use exterior caulk between siding and window or door frames.
  • Invest in a roof rake. You can safely and easily clear snow off your roof before it accumulates and gets packed down and heavy.   
  • Turn on the lights. Winters are dark, so you’ll want to light up entrances (using energy-efficient lights).  It’s also a great security feature. 

    Don’t forget your yard, deck and shed

    Your plants and lawn may be hardy, but other areas in and around your home and lawn need some winter preparedness planning. 

    • Watch out for pests. Clean out garden and woodworking areas and other places where pests will want to hunker down this winter. Remember, they are very clever creatures! 
    • Clear branches close to the house. Heavy snow and ice cause branches to fall into (or into) your home. A couple of hours with the pruner now could save you thousands of dollars in damages later.
    • Cover patio furniture, and move softwood furnishings into the shed, garage, or home.
    • Clean and store your lawn mower (remove excess gasoline), and service your snow blower. 
    • Winterize your sprinkler systems and water fountains. Drain them, turn off the water supply and blow compressed air through the lines to clear them of water to prevent freezing and bursting.
    • Stock up on salt or ice melt products for your walkway, stairs, and driveway. (Remember the last ice storm when the stores were all sold out? We do!).
    • Check the chimney’s exterior and inspect it for cracks or gaps. Using a flashlight, check inside for animal infestation or cracked tiles.

      Now let’s get started on the inside…

      There are some key areas inside your home that you will need to give some attention and care to before hanging up the tool belt. 

      • Seal windows and doors with weather stripping. It’s inexpensive, and stops cold air from leaking in. It lowers your heating costs too.
      • Buy, or make door draft stoppers (there are really adorable and stylish ones available now). 
      • Replace or fill rotting or cracked window frames.
      • Pay attention to your furnace. Furnaces always seem to give out on us on the coldest day of the year; get it inspected, and change the filter. 
      • Check your ducts. Are they sealed and insulated? 
      • Do you have a wood stove or fireplace? Most insurance companies require that you get your chimney cleaned and inspected annually. 
      • Remove window air conditioning units. If you must leave them in, cover the exterior of the unit with an insulating wrap to keep cold air out.

        Finally, if you plan on having a winter getaway, don’t turn your heat off. You can certainly turn it down, but turning it off freezes your water pipes and they will burst. The few dollars you may save in heating costs are never worth the hassle of frozen pipes. 

        Now it’s time to sit back and relax

        Now that you’ve spent time preparing your home for the worst that winter can bring, you deserve to sit back with a glass of wine and turn on your favourite show. Your home is your biggest investment; the work you do on it will increase its value, help keep it looking great, and reduce costly repairs. You know what they say, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. We may get our fair share of snow here in the Southern Georgian Bay area, but we know how to do winters right! If you are interested in finding, buying or selling here, please call one of our experienced REALTORS® at 705-445-7085; we’d love to hear from you. 

        Top Fall Decorating Trends of 2023

        Top Fall Decorating Trends of 2023

        While gourds and pumpkins make excellent fall decorating staples, designers share a few unexpected ways to welcome this cozy season.

        Vibrant mums, autumn leaves, and cooler weather all command a restful ambience, a hallmark of the fall season. So it’s no surprise that the outdoors inspires us to transport a bit of coziness into our interiors each year. And while chunky plaid blankets, pumpkins, and cinnamon-infused candles can help achieve a classic fall aesthetic, why not explore a few new decorating tricks this season?

        Whether you’re a traditionalist or not, if you’re eager to set an autumnal mood, we have fall decorating ideas that run the gamut from classic to quirky. We’ve polled pro interior designers who highlight this year’s top fall decorating trends to keep on your radar for 2023.

        Personalized Color Palettes

        While classic autumn hues like red, orange, and yellow never tire, a more refined color palette is gaining popularity this fall. Angela Hamwey, interior designer and owner of Mackenzie & Co., predicts a “neutral aesthetic that is both soft and inviting” will outshine traditional autumnal colors. To achieve this look, embrace a palette reflective of nature by using shades of chocolate brown, mossy green, and caramel. And if creating a fresh color arrangement feels tricky, simply look to the outdoors for a helping hand. As you take in your surroundings, consider more subtle, underlying color nuances to nail down a fall color scheme unique to your taste.

        Nancy Evars, interior designer and owner of Evars Collective, suggests adding pops of blue to the mix. “We are loving brown and blue colors paired together, and are so happy to see that people are requesting less and less gray,” says Evars. And while bright tints of blue might not align with seasonal motifs, deeper shades of navy can absolutely fit right in. Thanks to navy’s versatility, it’s a sleek choice for many styles and spaces, and doubles as a neutral backdrop to highlight more vibrant fall colors.

        Sustainable Textiles

        Fall is the perfect time to refresh pillows, throws, and even rugs to make a room feel cozier with more layers and texture, says Evars. But this year, swap out seasonal-specific colors like mustard, burnt sienna, and burgundy with an evergreen collection of neutrals. For example, replace a buffalo check or plaid acrylic throw with a monochromatic wool option. “By keeping sustainability top of mind, we will likely see textiles that are traditionally introduced in the fall, such as velvet, cashmere, and wool, extend beyond the season as designers opt for these elements in neutral colorways,” Hamwey says. This thoughtful approach allows “for an investment in the quality of each item as they have a designated, year-round place in the home,” Hamwey adds.

        Furniture with Distressed or Dark Finishes

        Incorporating darker woods and distressed finishes is essential to evoking an autumnal mood this fall. “Oftentimes, the desire to create a restorative and relaxing environment is heavily embraced in the cooler months,” says Hamwey, adding that this shift in seasons often results in a more layered home. If this resonates with you, look to darker woods and vintage or reclaimed pieces with distressed finishes this year.

        Return to Formality

        Post-pandemic living rebooted our entertaining skills and with this, formal spaces are making a comeback. “After the last few years of using every possible surface as a desk while working from home, people are excited to go back to using their rooms as they were intended,” says Evars. “We see a little more formality again when it comes to entertaining—the fine china, silver, and crystal are being dusted off and used a lot more often now.”

        Look to this return to formal spaces as a major fall design opportunity. From big-ticket items like dining chairs and credenzas to smaller design elements like stoneware, table runners, mats, and festive napkin rings, utilize autumn to curate a collection meaningful to you.

        Statement Glassware

        Expect to see more thoughtful, curated tablescapes full of fun, funky glassware this fall. “Keep an eye out for amber or smoke-glass stemware, or clear glass mugs with a pop of color on their handle,” says Yvonne McFadden, owner of Y. McFadden Interiors. Perfect for sipping apple cider or bourbon, whimsical glassware adds an unexpected design element to seasonal decor. “Fall gatherings often have the perfect backdrop for friends and family to take all of the smartphone pictures, and with beautiful glassware in hand, your guests won’t be scrambling to find a place to set down their drink,” says McFadden.

        Geometric Patterns

        Another trend to keep on your radar for 2023 fall decorating is geometric patterns and details. “The eyes on your jack-o’-lantern aren’t the only place you’ll find triangles and other bold geometric shapes,” says McFadden. There are many ways to incorporate these elements into your home, whether through angular chandeliers, patterned Roman shades, or tartan-print throws in unexpected colorways. You can even try upholstering a chair with a windowpane-printed fabric for a more edited take on a favorite classic, suggests McFadden.

        (from Better Homes & Gardens https://www.bhg.com/2023-fall-decorating-trends-7558566)

        Four Home Design Rules to Live By

        Four Home Design Rules to Live By

        Just purchased a new home and not sure how to decorate? One of the joys of moving into a new space is the ability to add certain touches to personalize it and make it your own. However, when you find yourself staring at blank walls (or worse – walls covered with wallpaper from the 1980’s), it can be difficult to know where to start and what to do to make your new home look just right. 

        To help you out, here are four home design rules to follow: 

        Keep It Simple 

        When it comes to design and décor, it’s always a good idea to keep it simple and elegant – for many people they find they’ve gone overboard with colour, furniture or decorative items and it ends up feeling cluttered and disjointed. This is especially true if the spaces in your home are a little on the small side as smaller rooms can become overwhelmed when there’s simply too much going on. 

        To keep it simple, consider choosing a pale colour and continuing it throughout your home if you are planning to paint. This will give your home a light, breezy and open feeling. It will also provide the opportunity to use art and other colourful, decorative items to add excitement, colour and character without it being too intense. 

        Group Things in Threes

        One of the easiest interior design rules to follow is to group things in three. If you are hanging art on the wall, for example, you may want to hang three similar sized pieces in a row in order to add visual appeal. Decorative items such as candlesticks or other ornaments also look great and visually balanced when placed in groups of threes. 

        Incorporate Small Changes 

        It’s important to remember that you don’t need to redecorate all at once when you first move to your new home. In fact, it may be easier (and more affordable) to incorporate smaller changes when you first move in or focus on one room to start out. If the kitchen is your main focus, for example, there are many ways to ‘spice it up’ – change out the light fixture, add a pop of colour or add a chalkboard wall, to name just a few ideas.

        Express Yourself 

        Finally, remember that your home is yours and, as such, it should represent you and your family and showcase what makes you happy. If you’re a vibrant person who loves colour, don’t be afraid to adorn your new home with tons of bright colours and patterns. If, however, you are more laid-back and want your home to act as your peaceful sanctuary, you may want to opt for more muted colours and tones. 

        Most new home-owners want to budget carefully after their big move, so keep in mind that spending extra on design items doesn’t need to happen right away. You can start slowly and work away at it, one room at a time. Whatever your individual style and situation, following these four tips can help you turn your new home into the ideal home for you and your family. Finding the perfect home is also easy when you work with Clairwood Realty. Our team of experienced and dedicated REALTORS® understands the needs of home-buyers, as well as the unique features of Collingwood, Wasaga Beach, Blue Mountains and the Southern Georgian Bay area. Call us today at 705-445-7085.

        Five Tips for Decorating Your Patio This Summer

        Five Tips for Decorating Your Patio This Summer

        When the weather heats up, you want to be outdoors! But a bland patio with aging pieces can seem unappealing when you want to unwind. You should like to spend time on your patio and enjoy the way it looks. Having high-quality outdoor furniture cushions and decor can make all the difference—and you can make it happen on any budget.

        From a brighter look to a private space, you can DIY your dream space and make it a reality more easily than you may think. Check out these design tips for decorating your patio this summer!

        Rearrange your furniture

        Give your patio a brand new look by trying a fresh layout. If you’ve had your furniture in the same spot for a while, make a change this summer! Finding new spots to sit and relax, or even adding extra pieces, can make setting up your patio for summer that much more exciting.

        When it comes to design, the details can make a big difference. Changing up cushions, curtains, or umbrellas can also help transform your patio. By adding pops of color or creating new shaded spaces, you can enjoy a relaxing new space.

        If you still don’t know what you want for your patio, or you have an idea but need a little inspiration, check out this idea gallery from HGTV!

        Use bold colors

        A bright color can spice up your patio for the season. From accent furniture and new cushions to a patio umbrella or beautiful flowers, there are plenty of ways to incorporate summer colors into your decor.

        Adding several new hues may even be best for enjoying your peaceful space. Mixing shades that are close together on the color wheel (like yellow and green) can create a varied, layered look without overwhelming your family or guests.

        Love neutrals but still want to take your patio decor up a notch this summer? Maybe a pop of color with just a few cushions or pillows is more your style. Blues, greens, oranges, and yellows are all great choices to add personality to your outdoor area in the warmer months.

        Determine a focal point

        Have a patio wall or backyard fence? Use this blank space as your canvas for creating a focal point to your outdoor getaway. Grab a fun template and paint a mural design you love, or find an art piece that fits perfectly.

        If art isn’t your specialty, or you don’t want to add paint to your backyard surface, there are other great decor options. Hanging metal sculptures or vertical gardens can also draw your guests’ eyes and impress them with your design prowess.

         Create privacy and shade

        We know you want the backyard to be a place of rest and relaxation in the summer—at least when the kids aren’t running and playing outside. When it’s time to unwind, don’t let nearby neighbors or the hot sun keep you from enjoying your time on the patio.

        Outdoor curtains are a great way to define a space, create shade, and ensure privacy. Pergola “walls” or tension rods on screened-in patios are a great way to hang weather-proof curtains to create a tucked-away space you’ll love.

        Add new cushions to patio furniture

        Small, budget-friendly changes can make a big difference for you and your guests, especially when these changes make you all more comfortable! Update your patio cushions to combine relaxation and style this summer.

        Different shapes, fabrics, and designs can make your patio and furniture look brand new. Want even more bang for your buck? Pick a few bright shades or exciting patterns for your cushions to check off #2 on this list, too!

        Ready to bring your patio to life for summer? Try a few of these design tips to create a stylish, relaxing space for you and your guests to enjoy the warm weather. If you’re ready to take on a DIY project to create exactly the space you’ve been dreaming of, consider made-to-order cushions, patio umbrellas, outdoor art, and more!