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Eight Ideas for Using Your Backyard During the Summer
Posted on Mon, 15 Apr 2019, 10:40:00 AM  in My services
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After enduring a long winter in Canada, it is time to enjoy your home and its lawns throughout the spring and the summer. You can spend more time at your home enjoying the beautiful weather rather than traveling to local parks or going away on a vacation. Use these ideas to have fun at home throughout the summer.Eight Ideas for Using Your Backyard During the Summer


Build a Deck

Adding a deck to your home makes it easier to have a place for resting after work or for entertaining outside. You can build a deck on your own, or alternatively, you can hire an expert. With a deck, you will have a place for outdoor furniture such as chaises or picnic tables along with having a place for a barbecue grill to cook meals outside. If you have lights and an outdoor heater on your patio, then you can use the space during the evening.


Plant a Garden

Planting a garden is a great way to have fresh vegetables or herbs for your meals, and you can also grow flowers that will add beauty to your lawns. Working in a garden is a relaxing activity that can soothe your mind after a busy day at work, but it is also a physical activity that exercises your muscles and helps you to lose weight.


Play Areas for Children or Grandchildren

If you have children or grandchildren, then create fun play areas for them in your backyard. You can have swing sets, monkey bars or playhouses so that children can play outside safely to get more exercise and fresh air. Don’t forget to build a sandbox under a tree where your children can build castles from the sand.


Create a Bird Sanctuary

The population of wild birds is declining, but you can create a bird sanctuary in your backyard to help these creatures survive and thrive. Having birdhouses is a great way to attract robins, blue jays or cardinals to your backyard, but you should also have feeders that hold birdseed or other foods for the birds.


Add a Swimming Pool

Adding a swimming pool to your backyard is easy when you use a ready-made pool that is delivered to your home. These swimming pools are available in different sizes or shapes, and you can add ladders or decks to the items for more enjoyment.


Play Croquet on the Weekends

Croquet is an easy game to play outside, and it is suitable for every age group. Look for the mallets, wooden balls and wickets at a store that offers sporting goods. The goal of this game is to hit the wooden balls with the mallets through the wickets that are scattered throughout the lawns of your home.


Do You Have a Fire Pit?

When you have a fire pit at your home, you can sit around it outside to cook foods on sticks such as hot dogs or marshmallows. When it is a cooler spring evening, the fire from the pit will provide warmth while you talk to your friends.


Buy a Hammock

If you love reading books, then you can buy a hammock to hang from the trees in your backyard. When you don’t have trees that are strong enough to support a hammock, you can use a special metal stand or posts to hold the item. With a hammock, you can enjoy a nap outside, or you can bring your stack of library books outside to read the items all day.

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Canadian Real Estate Trends for 2019
Posted on Thu, 28 Feb 2019, 11:15:00 AM  in My services

As the weather warms up across Canada, the real estate market heats up as well. As you consider buying or selling a home, it's important to stay up to date with the key annual real estate trends. A few of the major trends in store for 2019 are described below.Canadian Real Estate Trends for 2019


Market Softening

With higher interest rates and tighter lending criteria, the real estate market should be well balanced between buyers and sellers, with limited supply in many markets balancing increased cost of financing. Although a hard price crash is unlikely, the extremely high valuations of the past decade are not sustainable over the long term. The Canadian Real Estate Association predicts a slight rebound in home sales and prices, but high household debt and high home prices relative to income remain long term concerns.


Remote Working

As more people work remotely either full time or occasionally and self-employment and entrepreneurship are increasingly popular, houses need to function as work places as well as living spaces. This makes home offices or flexible spaces such as lofts increasingly attractive features for buyers. Availability of high speed internet and plenty of outlets and adequate amperage for charging multiple electronic devices are essential.


Smart Homes

With the growth of the "internet of things" and smart home technology, many devices can now be controlled remotely from owners' phones or by voice commands. The increasing popularity of this technology means that the most attractive properties will be ones with the appropriate technological infrastructure in place.


Sales Technology

Technology is an important selling tool. Buyers expect property listings to include such elements as drone photography and virtual tours. A new trend is letting potential buyers explore homes remotely using virtual reality headsets. Rather than traipsing from home to home with a real estate agent, a buyer might narrow home choices remotely and only pay a single visit to a property before committing to buying.


Changing Demographics

Canadian demographics are changing. Rather than home buying being dominated by families with children looking for larger homes in the suburbs, buyers may include smaller families, blended families, single people, childless couples, and downsizing older people. Buyers demand a greater range of lifestyle amenities and character in homes rather than just a big house in the suburbs with a yard.


Aging in Place

The trend of boomers wanting to age in place affects the real estate market. As well as downsizing, older buyers may be looking for adaptive features such as walk-in showers or tubs, grab bars, wider corridors, rocker switches, and lever rather than knob style door handles. Active adult communities offering services to help with aging in place are popular.


Environmental Awareness

Canadians are not just concerned about global warming but factor in environmental impacts to their buying decisions. Well insulated, energy efficient homes are popular as are use of environmentally friendly materials such as bamboo flooring. In some areas of Canada, solar panels can reduce electricity usage, as can tankless water heaters and other efficient and smart appliances. According to Natural Resources Canada, homes with high efficiency appliances and good insulation are cost effective, comfortable, and attractive to buyers.

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What to Look for When You Tour a Home
Posted on Mon, 31 Dec 2018, 02:35:00 PM  in Home buying tips,  My services

If you are a home buyer, you will probably tour many homes before you make a purchase. You should take a list of things to look for at your meeting, tour or open house visit. The list should consist of your wants, needs and things to check while visiting the home. You can also include questions to ask a REALTOR® during your visit.


The Neighborhood

You should ask questions about the neighbourhood and then do your own research. Visiting the neighbourhood at night is a good indicator of safety. Research the schools in the area to see how well they perform. You may have children or have children in the future and this should be a consideration.


The Roof

Feel free to ask when the roof was last replaced. This is a good indicator of when you will need to hire a service in the future. Check for damage or leaks inside on the ceilings. The gutters should be in good working order and there should be no damage to the roof that is visible on the outside of the home. If you notice damage, consider this when you negotiate your terms for the purchase.


The Electrical Box

Find the electrical box as you walk through the house. This is a good way to make sure that the electrical is newer and in good working condition. This is usually more of a concern in older homes.


Heating/Air Conditioning/Plumbing

Ask your host if you can turn the heat and air conditioner on. This will allow you to hear any noises that may be apparent. You can do the same with the plumbing. Test the faucets to see if everything sounds like it is working well.What to Look for When You Tour a Home


Cracks in the Foundation

Repairing the foundation is costly. Check the basement and garage flooring for any cracks in the foundation or cement. This is also a good time to check for mould or water in the basement.


The Yard

When you look at the yard of a potential property, it is important to visualize what you will use it for in the future. Is it large enough and flat enough for everything you might want it for in the future?



If storage is a concern of yours, this is something that you should check on a home tour. You want to make sure the closets, garage or outside storage is a place that stays dry all year.



Your list should include any upgrades you want to make to the home you are touring. Also, the list should include any known repairs that you knew about prior to the tour.

It is important to have everything you need in one place before you make an offer.


When you tour a home, it is important to stay focused on the house and look for the items that most people don't think about when looking at a home for the first time. If you have any questions about the home, get answers from a REALTOR® prior to making an offer on the home.

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Top Reasons to Get a Home Inspection Before You Buy
Posted on Sat, 15 Dec 2018, 02:30:00 PM  in Home buying tips,  My services

When it comes to buying a new home, it's often easy to get caught up in the buying process. If your agent tells you that the house has other offers on it, you might throw out an offer in the hopes of buying it right away without taking the time to think about the purchase. This can easily result in you spending much more money than the property is really worth. A good agent will suggest that you pay for a home inspection up front. There are some solid reasons why you should get that inspection done before signing any paperwork.Top Reasons to Get a Home Inspection Before You Buy


Determine Its Overall Worth

One of the top reasons to have an inspection done is because it will give you an idea of how much the house is worth. Sellers can list their homes for any prices they want. Even if they work with licensed agents, they might think that the property is worth more than it would sell for in real life. The inspection will tell you the total size of the house and the property as well as any issues that the inspector found.


Find Out About Possible Issues

There is only so much you can tell about a home on your initial walkthrough. Even if you make multiple trips to check things out, you can only see what is visible to the naked eye. You might notice that some rooms need a fresh coat of paint or that you need to replace the bathroom or kitchen fixtures. That walkthrough will not give you the chance to check out the foundation or the roof though. The home inspection will tell you the problems found and give you an idea of how much those problems will cost to fix.


Put in a Lower Offer

Having a home inspection done is smart because it can help you decide what type of offer to put in out that property. A good example is a house that you love that has some damage to the roof. The cost of a new roof or even a major repair can easily hit $5,000 or more. That is money that will come out of your pocket when you become the new owner. When you let the owner know how much you'll need to spend on repairs, you might get the home for a lower price.


Demand Repairs

If you cannot reach an agreement with the current owner to lower the price based on the results of the home inspection, you can request that the owner make some of the repairs to the house before you buy it. This often occurs when the owner knows that the house needs work and set the sale price too high. Owners will sometimes agree to do the work because they realize that no one else will pay the price they want. This will only work if the work done will bring the home up the value that the owner wants though.


The home inspection process only takes a few hours. Inspectors will walk around the property and get inside the house. They will make a full list of everything that is wrong and any issues they find, which can include problems in the plumbing and/or electrical systems. Though you might think that you can skip this step, you should really have a home inspection done before you agree to buy an older home. The inspection can reveal damage and issues you didn't see and help you work out the best price for the home with the old owners.

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Top 5 Benefits of Owning a Home
Posted on Fri, 30 Nov 2018, 02:30:00 PM  in Home buying tips,  My services
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Owning a home is everyone’s dream, there are many noticeable benefits of owning a home. If you are planning to purchase a home the first step you should take is to determine whether having a house is the right fit for you and your family. It is essential when making your decisions to strongly consider both the advantages and disadvantages of what you are deciding on.Top 5 Benefits of Owning a Home


Here are some of the benefits of having a place to call your home. Knowing some of the benefits of owning a home can help you make informed decisions and save some of your money in the long run.


Freedom to Own

The most obvious plus benefit of having your own home is being in the position to customize it to fit your lifestyle. The dream home you always think about will become a reality with the newly found freedom to design, renovate, decorate and add anything that your heart desires.


If you have your own home, you can add permanent fixtures or paint your walls with any color you wish without worrying about breaking or leasing restrictions or regulations.


Opportunity to Build Equity

When you hear individuals talking about homeownership and real estate, one of the most obvious words you will likely hear is equity. Equity in real estate or homeownership is the probable market value of a property without or minus the liens against it such as a mortgage. One of the excellent benefits of having a home is an opportunity to create or build equity.


The longer you own your home, the more you will have to pay towards the balance of any liens. As the principal balance of any liens gets lower and lower and hopefully the value of the home increases, the larger the equity.


Enhances Your Savings

Purchasing a home is a reliable and stable way of investing your cash. To make it even simpler, property or homeownership is a forced way of saving your money. For most individuals, paying for your monthly mortgage is not a cost; it is a payment to yourself, which allows for higher credit, overall profit and equity down the road. You should view your mortgage payments as maintaining an excellent financial discipline where you are investing in something that is bound to improve and grow over time.


You Enjoy Significant Tax Deductions

Homeownership can minimize the amount of money you pay in income tax every year. Your property tax and mortgage interest payments can be deduced from the federal taxes and other state taxes.


Certain closing expenses and mortgage discount points may also be tax deductible. During the early years of your loan, when the interests represent the bulk of your mortgage payment, the respective tax deductions can help you save a significant amount of money.


Build Your Credit

There are many factors that affect your credit score, and one of the most important is the length of your credit history. The best tip of boosting your credit score is to improve the average length of your credit accounts, and homeownership can help you accomplish this.


Since the current length of a mortgage is approximately 15 to 30 years, having a mortgage on your respective credit history is an excellent way to expand or lengthen the average of your current credit accounts.


You should understand that each month that you pay a mortgage on time; it indicates that you are a responsible borrower which not only improves your credit score but also increases the chances of approval of your future credit accounts.

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Tips For Keeping Your Home Neat & Tidy
Posted on Thu, 15 Nov 2018, 02:30:00 PM  in My services

Store Your Holiday Decorations and Throw Away the Christmas TreeTips For Keeping Your Home Neat & Tidy

After the holidays are over, you should put away your holiday decorations such as ornaments and strands of lights, but you should also throw away your live Christmas tree before it begins to drop its needles. A decaying Christmas tree is a potential fire hazard in your home, and it can also create a mess on the carpets or floors. When you store your holiday decorations, do it in an organized way by wrapping the light strands around rectangular pieces of cardboard, and also, wrapping the delicate glass ornaments in cushioning paper. Store the boxes of decorations in a safe place that isn't too hot or cold so that your holiday items will remain in good condition until the things are needed.


Wash the Refrigerator and Oven

If you have prepared a lot of meals during the holiday season, then you may have a messy kitchen that requires organizing and cleaning. Cleaning your kitchen's appliances after Christmas Day and New Year's Day is an excellent idea because a refrigerator and an oven can become covered with food debris. Prepare an ice chest for storing the food in your freezer and refrigerator so that the things won't spoil. Fill a sink with warm soapy water before removing the items from the refrigerator. Wash the exterior of the condiment bottles or other containers, but check the expiration dates on the items to throw out anything that is spoiled. Dump any leftovers into the trash, and begin to scrub the shelves, walls and back of the refrigerator with a wet cloth. Place the food back into the proper areas of the refrigerator as fast as possible.


Sanitize the Oven and the Stovetop

Cleaning an oven or a stovetop is more challenging, and it is a dirty job. Cover your clothing with an apron, and wear protective gloves during the process. Remove the metal grills from the stove to place the items in hot soapy water. Let these items soak while you complete the rest of the stove-cleaning task. The top of the stove may open so that you can wash away any spilled food, or alternatively, your stove may have removable drip pans. You can soak the drip pans in the sink with the grills. To clean the interior of the stove, you should use paper towels to wipe away the burnt food and sticky grease. If you use store-bought oven cleaner, then make sure that the room is ventilated, and you must keep the substance away from your skin. You can make a safer homemade oven cleaner with baking soda and vinegar, but it may take longer to sanitize the oven. Dry the pan holders and drip pans to place the items back on the stove for the next time that you must prepare a meal.


Organizing Your Kitchen Cupboards and Drawers

You may have kitchen cupboards that are disorganized and dirty after the holidays. Begin with the cupboard that contains stored food items such as cans of vegetables and boxes of pasta. Remove the containers so that you can wash the shelves underneath, but make sure to place the food back into the cupboard so that you can find things easily. Washing the interior surfaces of the other cupboards is a good idea to eliminate food crumbs that might attract pests such as cockroaches or mice. The utensil drawers in your kitchen probably require cleaning because food often spills into these items while you are preparing meals, so you can remove all of the cooking and eating utensils to wash the items along with the drawers.

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Don't Forget About These Things When You Budget for Your First Home!
Posted on Wed, 31 Oct 2018, 11:50:00 AM  in Home buying tips,  My services
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If you are getting ready to purchase your first home, there are many things that may not make it into your budget. While you may be focused on the excitement of the home itself, certain items added to your budget may make your overall experience after you move in more comfortable.


FurnitureDont Forget About These Things When You Budget for Your First Home

Although the furniture isn't a requirement when purchasing a home, many homeowners wish they had the funds to furnish the living spaces with new items right away. Saving for this makes homeownership much sweeter in the end. If you don't wish to save for the whole home, the living spaces should get some attention or even a new sofa!



Appliances, paint, fixtures, and lighting can make a new home purchase feel like it is indeed your ideal home. It is a little bit of work up front to get something that feels like you live there. These items have an upfront cost but the payoff is great. These are great things to think about when negotiating a price as well. If the home needs some updates, don't be afraid to give an offer that is below the asking price.


Home Maintenance

There may be things in the home that need to be fixed when you move in, or they may break right after you move in. Being prepared with savings for home maintenance or emergencies is a good way to keep your new home in steady working condition. Repairs can be very high if something is missed during the inspection of a home. If you plan on doing home maintenance yourself, there should still be a bit of emergency money set away for those things that you may not be able to do alone!


Final Costs

Make sure you ask about all of the costs of the home purchasing process. Your REALTOR® should be able to discuss this with you and let you know exactly what you will be responsible for when purchasing the home you decide on. This will help you stick to a more accurate budget.


Your Perfect Space

If you can't make your whole home perfectly the way you want it, an agreed upon space can be decorated and furnished to be a sanctuary for you. Feeling like you are at home can come from one space that reflects how you love to entertain, relax, enjoy your family, or work. A room that reflects your personality will show your guests just how well much the home compliments your style.


When purchasing a home it can be an emotional journey. Considering how you will feel once you've lived in the home will help you budget for the little things that will make the end of your home buying journey peaceful. Money is never the only consideration in homebuying but if you want your home to reflect your style it is an investment that is easier done with savings prior to the purchase of the home.

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Top 4 Benefits of Working with a REALTOR®
Posted on Sat, 15 Sep 2018, 12:30:00 PM  in Home buying tips,  Home selling tips,  My services

Buying a new home is an exciting experience as you are creating a novel and new future for you and your household. Regardless if you are looking for something smaller or more significant, more modern, or with a concept design, you will require help getting started. That is why working with a REALTOR® can be beneficial to you.

The REALTOR® will help you determine the exact value of the home you are buying or selling. They will also help you determine the price range of the home you are looking to buy or sell. When purchasing a home, a REALTOR® will help you get something you are looking for and truly provide you with a home you were dreaming of. Here are the benefits of working with a REALTOR®.


They Know How to NegotiateTop 4 Benefits of Working with a REALTOR

Since a REALTOR® knows how to negotiate, they can detect any problems with the potential home you are looking to buy that otherwise could have gone unnoticed. They will help you review your potential home evaluation in-depth details while considering the home for themselves as well. In instances where some sections require repair or some improvements, they will help you to negotiate.

The negotiation process will involve having the homeowner to carry out the repair process as part of the selling agreement or lower the price to cover future renovations. Without the help of a REALTOR ®, these issues may go undetected, or your negotiation results may not help you get the right outcome you were looking for. It does not matter how level-headed you are, the process of purchasing a home is overwhelming and exciting. Allowing an unbiased REALTOR® with no emotional attachments to the home you are looking to buy, negotiate for you can be your saving grace.


Have Knowledge of the Area

The REALTOR® has more information about the area you are planning to purchase or sell a home. You will not have to wait for them to look up everything about the area. They know their area inside out making every process easy and quick. The REALTOR® knows the best neighbourhood, amenities, schools, marketplaces that are close to your potential home. They also understand the average market price of the home and the trends of the area in case you are selling. They will always have essential information at their fingertips for their customers.


They Understand the Paperwork Process

If you have ever purchased a home before, it means you have probably dedicated to a shelf full of documents that were involved in the purchase process. These papers include the written and signed counter offer, written offer, and other details. The paperwork process can prove to be tiresome for you. That is when a REALTOR® can come in and save the day. Most of the time, these counter offers are limited by a time frame making it difficult for you to work on them alone. They have machines that help in good economies and never stop the process of churning out papers.


Have Great Network

The REALTOR® know great contractors that could help you in the renovation process during and after the process. Selling or purchasing a home has much more than just a real estate transaction process. Prior to selecting a REALTOR® to work with, you should make sure that you are able to consider all the available options.

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4 Tips for Choosing Commercial Property
Posted on Tue, 31 Jul 2018, 11:10:00 AM  in My services
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4 Tips for Choosing Commercial Property

4 Tips for Choosing Commercial Property

Owning property is an exciting proposition, and purchasing commercial property is just as exciting. While the property purchase philosophy is the same, there are a few differences when taking the plunge into the commercial property market, as well as a few different considerations.


Let’s discuss four tips to consider when purchasing commercial property.


  1. Type of Property

It is important to think about and decide the type of commercial property desired. Will the property be used for your own use or will it be rental or lease property. Will you be the primary caretaker of the property or will a property manager be involved. Other concerns and questions to ask yourself are are you ready to take on such a risk and does such a purchase fall within your risk level. If your skill and expertise level falls short, would you be willing to perhaps establish a partnership with someone who will bring the necessary skills and expertise to the table. Is your foray into commercial property subject to a team of investors who will help carry the financial burden?


  1. Financing your Commercial Dream

Purchasing commercial property is, in a lot of cases, more costly than purchasing a home. It is essential to have the necessary financing in place rather than taking a fly by the seat of your pants approach. It is important to know what financing institutions will mortgage commercial properties. It is necessary to know what your credit rating needs to be, as well as the amount of down payment that is required for such a purchase.


  1. Hiring the Experts

There will usually be a few experts that you will be required to hire on during the transaction and after the deal is complete. You will most likely need to hire a commercial real estate attorney, an accountant, a mortgage broker and commercial real estate broker. After the deal is complete, you may need a property manager and a leasing or rental agent. Hiring experts to help you out will help you to protect your interest in the venture and keep you from getting in over your head. Having everyone on board as soon as possible will make sure everyone is on the same page and everyone has sufficient time to undertake any prep work that may be required. It will also be important to have a maintenance chief on board as early as possible. An important part of the team will be an appraiser who will determine the current market value of the property of interest.


4 Making an Offer

Unless you are a real estate and financial wizard, it is important to have someone on your team, such as a real estate attorney, who is. Before signing a Letter of Intent (LOI) make sure your legal eagle reviews the contract first. The LOI will outline the terms of the transaction. It is essential there is a clause or two in the agreement that lets you opt-out of the deal in the event if something goes wrong with the deal. It is essential to understand all aspects of the contract, especially all your rights and obligations of the agreement. When it comes time to make an offer, you will have an appraisal that defines the value of the property. The appraisal will take into account the economic climate, as well as the value of similar properties in the area. It is not necessary to offer what value of the evaluation, nor is necessary to meet the seller’s price. The attorney, when performing their due diligence on the property may be able to determine what the seller may accept for a price.

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How to Tune Up Home Decorating for Springtime
Posted on Sat, 31 Mar 2018, 03:50:00 PM  in My services
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With winter slowly starting to loosen its icy grasp, more and more people are looking forward to establishing a different series of decorations around their home. Decorating seasonally is one of the best ways to spice up a property, especially if you are planning on later sales, and knowing what to change up for the springtime can be one of the best ways for you to make a difference. Keep some of these home-decorating tips in mind and see how you can spice up your atmosphere with the warming temperature.


Change Up Your Pillows

Some fabrics are ideal for decorative pillows all-year-round. Tweed, velvet and silk can all be extremely attractive if you want to keep a central theme in mind. However, they can start feeling heavier during the warmer months. Change up your fabrics and colors to match with the weather. This is especially recommended for those who have neutral-toned primary fixtures in the home, such as sofas and couches. See what colors work best for your tastes, but always keep your eyes open for brighter colors, especially greens and yellows during the early months of spring.How to Tune Up Home Decorating for Springtime


Play with Accent Walls

Establishing a singular accent wall in the house can provide you with a fun decorative spot in the future. It can be especially empowering for homeowners who want to change up their decorations often. This accent wall is always in style because of how many different ways there are to decorate. You can establish a strong wallpaper motif or change up the color with various paint options. As the weather starts to warm, you can hang up various decorations to match with brighter colors, effectively transforming the rest of the environment's feel.


Adjust the Scents

Another important way to decorate is to focus on olfactory cues as well as visual ones. Though changing up the furniture is always fun, it can be just as fun to play with the scents in the area. Many classical scents come to mind when homeowners think of winter scents, and just as many can be applied to the area during the spring. Selecting these scents to complement a visual design can be one of the best ways to create a certain feeling within the room. Experiment with cool, citrus, and bright floral scents during the spring to see what kind of sensations you can create.


Look into Simplification

Many winter decorations focus on closing gaps in a space. This is to create a warmer and closer environment, creating a cozy sensation in any room. With spring approaching and the cold clearing, many decorators can look forward to spacing out their decorations more. This means taking the time to break up particularly clustered sections around the room in order to create a more pronounced energy flow can be invaluable in establishing the feel of the room. Use this with a clear degree of lighting and shading direction, and you can look forward to powerful results.


Get the Garden Ready

Perhaps one of the most beloved activities of homeowners is decorating the yard. With winter's snows beginning to thaw, many can look forward to working outdoors again, creating beautiful visual landscapes that can complement the decorations they have already established around their home. Focus on plenty of foliage and bright colors to liven up the yard. See how you can experiment with walkways to create more vivacious displays leading up to the home. Like with anything else, plenty of experimentation will lead the desired results, especially if you have specific floral pairing ideas that you have been wanting to test out.


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ZOI OUZAS Sales Representative
RE/MAX Garden City Realty Inc., Brokerage
64 Main Street West, Grimsby ON L3M 1R6
Office: (905)-945-0660 Office: (905)-563-8527


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