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Moving to a new home is one of the most exciting – and stressful – times in your life. There’s so much to do (even without the packing) that it can all seem overwhelming.

The following tips should help you get ready for your movers, and help everything arrive in your new home damage-free.

1. Give Yourself Enough Lead Time 

One of the biggest mistakes DIY packers make is not giving themselves enough time. Then they do everything in a rush, are not able to do a good job, and end up with damaged items.

Depending on the size of your home, allow 1-2 months for packing. Remember, you’ll be doing this in the evenings (when you’re tired from a long day) and on weekends (when you’d rather be relaxing). This will mean you can do lots of smaller shifts, but you’ll get it done.

The hardest part is get started, so put on your favourite music and get the family involved. Reward yourself with a treat for reaching your goal for the day.

2. Get the Right Supplies 

Not all boxes are created equal. Using free boxes from grocery and liquor stores will work for durable items. But when it comes to dishes, glassware and artwork, invest in sturdy boxes with reinforced corners. A proper china carton is the best solution for dishes because it’s tough and can handle the weight.

You can use old newspapers for wrapping and padding, but be warned: you’ll end up with inky hands. You can get ink-free recycled paper at any packing supplies store.

For clothing that wrinkles, nothing beats a wardrobe box. It’s a larger box with a bar in the middle, just like the one in your closet. You’ll be able to leave your jackets, button-up shirts and dresses right on the hanger, and they go right from closet, to box, to your new closet as easy as pie.

For upholstered furniture, use plastic wrap or old sheets to protect the fabric. Make sure it’s securely wrapped, and that you will be able to lift and carry the item safely. Protect edges of wooden furniture with blankets, or use styrofoam pads.couple moving

3. Clear Out Clutter as You Pack 

It seems like we all have too much “stuff”. But you don’t need to carry things you don’t need to your new home. Keep a separate box handy for things you want to donate. As you pack, weed out anything you don’t use into the charity box. Once it’s full, it’s easy to drop off.

Take the opportunity to get rid of furniture you don’t need anymore at the same time. If it’s not perfect for your new home, it’s better to donate it instead of going through the work of moving it.

4. Pack Dishes With Extra Care 

This sounds like a no-brainer, but if you like your dishes they need to be packed in a china carton and with tons of paper. You may even want to use bubble wrap on irreplacable items you love.

The first thing to remember is that you need to pad the bottom of the box. Add several layers of crushed newsprint balls, and you can test to make sure it will absorb impact. Then you can individually wrap your dishes, and place one layer in the box. Create another layer of padding, and then add the next layer of dishes. Don’t forget to pad all the edges around each layer, and especially the corners. Before you seal the box, make sure things won’t shift around, because that’s when things usually break.

Here are some tips for specific dish types:

* Handles, stems and spouts: add support by twisting newsprint into a “snake” and wrapping it around the stem, spout or handle. Stuff the centre of the glass or teapot as well.

* Bowls and plates: you can nest these, as long as there’s several layers of paper in each one. Place these on their edges in the box. That’s right – they’re less likely to break than if they’re lying flat.

* Super fragile items: you can always pack something in a smaller box, and then nest that box inside a larger box, with padding in between.

5. Move Plants Separately 

Let’s face it, plants are delicate, and they need light, so it’s not always possible to move them long distance.

Small plants can be placed in a wide, shallow box. Use crumpled newsprint or bunched up plastic bags both under and between the pots. Don’t forget to pad the outside edges and corners of the box.

For large, heavy or tall plants, you’ll have to carry them one at a time. Depending on the plant, try padding the outside of the pot, as long as you can still carry it. You may need to create extra supports for tall plants.

6. Know When to Hire a Professional 

If you’re too busy to pack carefully, or have items that are both delicate and valuable, you may want to consider hiring a professional. Antiques, art, and wine collections are some of the things that will require special handling.

A reputable mover will visit your home, assess your belongings, and offer you an estimate in writing. Make sure you get a guarantee about how accurate the estimate will be. Honest movers will also provide you with the option to insure your delicate belongings.

 

 

 

Sarnia has always been a hockey focused town.  Just some information to share with your friends/family about a wonderful event coming to our city.  http://www.tourismsarnialambton.com/media/CT-Century-Tour-Influencer-Invite-SARNIA-FINAL-JAN9.pdf

 

 

 

With the cold days ahead comes the craving for comfort food.  Here is a simple croq pot Stew recipe that will help chase the cold away

http://www.canadianliving.com/food/slow_cooker_beef_stew.php

 

The kitchen is one, if not THE most important rooms in a home.  I have seen homes bought and NOT bought based on what the kitchen looks like or how well it suits the potential buyer.  On that note, here are some great ideas to spruce up your kitchen.

 

http://www.marcrafthomes.com/10-elegant-kitchen-upgrades-for-your-kitchen-renovation/

 

 

Are you going? It's that time of the month again, time for Sarnia's First Friday.  Check out all the great events happening this Friday November 7/14.  http://www.sarniafirstfriday.com/

 

 

 

 

 

Real Estate is one of the few places (along with the automobile business) in life where some form of negotiation is the rule rather than the exception. Just because it is the norm, however, does not mean that most people are proficient at it. Sure, most folks feel that they are the best negotiators in the world, but in reality, it is a learned art. It takes a keen understanding of the process in order to be good at it--and before you begin making offers on homes.

When it comes to Real Estate matters, the 3 most important aspects of an effective negotiation are:

 

1) Information
2) Preparation
3) Realism

 

Recognizing that being a good negotiator does not come naturally to most people--it must be worked at--is the first step in becoming one.

 

Information
CMA's--Comparable Market Analyses

Once you have found a home that you are prepared to buy, the first step in your process of negotiation is to determine the fair value for the home. Your Agent can be of great help here, since Real Estate Agents have access to the information that you need: Comparable Market Analyses (CMAs). A CMA will show exactly what properties similar to the one in which you have an interest have sold for. These analyses are based on fact, rather than opinion, and that information will always be of more value to you. Generally, CMAs will list houses in a particular location that are currently on the market, have sales pending on them, have expired from the market, and have sold. Be forewarned: it is primarily the SOLD properties that you need to be concerned with. What houses are on the market for is not always a good indication of what their value is, those that have pending sales will only tell you what the listing price is (not what it is going to sell for) and those that have expired because they haven't sold may indicate that they didn't move because they were overpriced.

The CMA which you obtain will most likely give you some general information about the houses that will be compared: Number of bedrooms and baths, square footage, the listing price and the sold price. It is important that the CMA focuses on houses similar to the one you have selected. If you are interested in a 4 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath 2 story, a CMA that lists only 3 bedroom 1 bath homes is of little or no value. Likewise, a CMA that includes a number of properties from a neighborhood 2 miles away will have limited value. To have a good CMA you must have all of the similar sales in the neighborhood in the last year. Obviously, the fresher the data (the more houses sold in the last few months), the better the CMA.

Note: In all likelihood, if you are dealing with the Selling Agent instead of a
Buyer's Agent, you will not have access to a CMA. This is one of the many reasons that it is vitally important to consider Buyer's Representation.

Condition

Once you have the information in hand, it is important to drive by all of the properties that are listed in the SOLD column. Why? Because condition has so much to do with the ultimate selling price of a house. Does the home in which you are interested shine above or fall below the others that have sold. Size, number of rooms, and lot size can only tell you so much. Your eyes will be able to tell you a lot more. Make a realistic comparison between the condition of your chosen house and those that have recently sold. Then adjust your thinking up or down from what you have seen.

Extra Amenities

Does the house you have chosen have more or less amenities than the comparable homes? Although amenities will not affect the value as much as location or condition will, they still can be a factor. Be wary, though. An outdoor hot tub may have been a major motivating factor in your choice of a house, but it will not add a great deal to the value of the property.

Motivation

An effective negotiator will gather as much information as is available on the house and the sellers. Obviously, one of the most important pieces of information you can have is the seller's reason for selling. Is it a case of having to sell or wanting to sell? Or, is it a case of "lets throw it on the market at a goofy price, and if somebody bites, we'll move?" If your Agent represents you in the transaction as a Buyer's Agent, they may or may not be able to secure this information for you (it depends on what the seller and the Seller's Agent want to reveal). If you are working with an Agent that represents the seller in the transaction (or in a Dual Agency position) they cannot disclose this information without the seller's consent. Even if this information cannot be revealed to you, a friendly discussion with one of the neighbors may give you a feel for the situation.

Preparation

Just having the right information is not enough. You must prepare yourself in order to use it effectively. The most important factor in your preparation is your emotional frame of mind. Buying a house is emotionally charged enough, without adding more fuel to the fire by letting your emotions override your common sense. It is not unusual to be excited--in fact, it is normal--but you must keep your excitement in check or you will lose the value of all the information you have gathered.

In addition to your
emotional frame of mind, your financial frame of mind should be in order. An offer to purchase will carry a lot more weight if there are no dangling
financial problems and if you have been pre-qualified for a mortgage.

"You can't be afraid to let it go." You must convince yourself that if the price is not to your liking (or worse, above your budget), you will be able to walk away. It is important for you to set a realistic limit and then stick to it. Overpaying for a house is epidemic among buyers who let their emotions rule their better judgment. It becomes very easy to regret paying too much for a house when you make a mortgage payment every month. Unlike a product that you overpay for once when you buy it, a house reminds you every 30 days that you made a mistake!

Finally, plan your work and work your plan. Organize your information and have it quickly available. When it comes time to make an offer, you don't want your "ammunition" scattered on scraps of paper in the back seat of your car.

Realism

 

Don't throw away all of the information gathering and preparation you have done by making a ridiculous offer on a well priced home. Nothing will turn a seller off more than a low ball offer on a house that has been realistically priced. Often, negotiations will stop, rarely to be revived again. If they are re-opened, the sellers generally will show their displeasure at the initial low offer by locking at or near the listing price.

An example: Mr. and Mrs. Buyer have been looking at houses for months. Finally, they find the perfect house, which is an ideal match for their needs and wants. The house is listed at $155,000. Mr. and Mrs. Buyer have a CMA in hand that shows average selling prices in the neighborhood to be in the $148,000 to $153,000 range. Ignoring the information they have, they make an offer of $120,000. Mr. and Mrs. Seller, annoyed at the low offer, counter offer at full selling price, $155,000. The Buyers, still convinced that they can "steal" this house, make a 2nd offer of $125,000. The Sellers, now very frustrated, do not move from their $155,000 price. Suddenly, there is word that another offer is forthcoming, this time from Mr. and Mrs. Smith. In fear of losing the house, Mr. and Mrs. Buyer up their offer to $154,000 (still needing some concession) and the Sellers accept. Consider, though, that a realistic first offer in the $150,000 range (remember, the CMA showed $148,000 to $153,000) may well have been accepted by the Sellers. If this were the case, the Buyer's paid $4000 more than they had to.

The moral: An unrealistic offer on a house that meets your needs and is priced correctly could end up costing more than it would with a realistic offer.

 

 

Remove leaves from your flower bed

http://homeguides.sfgate.com/leaves-out-bark-chips-flower-beds-30868.html

 

 

Here's some tips to help keep warm this winter without increasing your heating costs!

http://www.almanac.com/blog/editors-musings/blog-keeping-warm-winter

 

 

 

Here's a good article on some "Green" renovations for your home from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

http://www.cmhc.ca/en/co/grho/grho_017.cfm?WT.mc_id=BPRD130029C_TWT&WT.cg_n=TWT_CON

Bryan Meere Sales Representative

Bryan Meere

Sales Representative

519-402-0085

Len Meere

Sales Representative
519-402-1747