Drew & Patti Steeves Team

HomeLife Benchmark Titus Realty

Cell (604) 230-5700

Office (604) 575-5262

Email: drew@drewsteeves.com

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With the busy selling season approaching it helps to be prepared in advance. That way you have less to do when your home goes on the market & simply have to give it a quick tidy & dust before an open house or showing.

 

To help keep you organized we found this great printable checklist as a refereence to help you get your home prepped. Happy selling!

 

 

Planning to sell in 2015? Or are you on the hunt? We would love to be your realtor team to help with all of your real estate needs! Contact us today with your questions & to book an appointment. 

 

Checklist Source: Clean Mama

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It's been all over the news lately that the Bank of Canada intends to increase mortgage rates. While this sends most mortgage- toting homeowners into a panic, there are ways to prevent this increase from posing a problem to your financial situation. See below for some simple tips to help you reduce your money worries.



 

1. Lock in mortgage rates & credit lines

Prevent an increase in rates (and stress) by locking in your rates for a set period of time. Speak with your bank and/ or financing provider to work out the details. If rates fluctuate ( ie increase) you will be locked in at the previous lower rate, mitigating against the financial worries of a rate increase.


2. Set up an emergency savings fund

If you haven't already done so, make sure you have some savings to fall back on. Put aside a portion of your monthly income to deposit into your emergency savings fund. You can make this a set monthly amount or a percentage of your net income, whichever you're more comfortable with. This will help during tough months when/ if money gets tight.


3. Cut back on expenses

How often do you buy a coffee? Lunch? A snack on the go? Resist the urge to spend on these unnecessary expenses and put that money towards other things. It may not seem like a lot at the time, but when you get your monthly bill you can 'nickel and dime' yourself into a large amount of extra spending that wasn't necessary.


4. Make paying down debts a priority

We know it isn't fun to spend money on debt, but it can save you a lot of money in the long run. Figure out what your largest/ most expensive debts are and work down the list. Prioritize which debts you want to focus on paying down first. It may help to speak to a financial advisor to help you determine where you should focus on first. Debts with hight interest rates are often the first thing to be addressed, as these can be very expensive in the ong run without making a large impact on the principal cost.


Have questions about mortgage rates and how this can affect you buying a home? We're happy to answer all of your questions and put you at ease during your buying & selling experience. Contact us today with your questions and to schedule a meeting to help you get ready to buy or sell.


Image Source: Infinity Investment Group

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Happy new year! We hope you enjoyed a wonderful holiday season!

 

Now that we're into the new year we thought it would be a good time to share some tips about home maintenance throughout the year. What better time to start getting organized than the beginning of a new year? See below for some great tips throughout the seasons from targetwoman.com.

 

 

Spring 

This is an important season for home maintenance- ever wonder why it's called 'spring cleaning'? Focus on the interiors to prepare for the ensuing summer heat after months of humidity.

 

  • Cleaning of windows takes top priority. And storm windows have to be replaced with screens. For instance if a hole is missed in the window screen, bugs might make their way inside. Duct tapes may be good for a quick fix but not a permanent solution.

  • Smoke detectors must be checked for batteries. Fire hazards must be checked for, say, overloaded extension cords. Carbon monoxide detectors have to be checked.

  • It is important to check if all the exits such as hallways and stairs are clutter free. Similarly, locks, latches, and hinges on doors and windows have to be checked and replaced. Inspect for roof leaks, debris and loose shingles.

  • Clean garbage, car park and shed, basement and attic. 

  • Have a professional inspect and pump the septic tank.

  • Gutters, driveways, yards and walkways have to be clear of debris. Remove leaves, branches and debris from gutters and ensure that waterways are properly drained from the house. Repair damaged gutter components if necessary. The clothes dryer vent system must be cleaned as lint can build up and cause the dryer to run longer than required, thereby wasting energy.

  • Ensure that stairs, both indoor and outdoor are slip proof.

  • Caulking around sinks, tubs and showers should be examined.

  • Broken pavements on stairs need to be fixed. Also fix broken, gates, doors and fences. Inspect if they are functioning properly and replace if necessary. 

  • Check for pests, termites and rodents. If infestation problem persists, take professional help. 
  • Get the air conditioner ready for the ensuing summer. DIY tips can help to fix up any issue and user guides are available for regular maintenance. 

  • Ensure that puddles do not stand around the house for more than 24 hours. The pavement may be raised with some professional help so that water is drained away from home.

  • Trees and shrubs in the backyard have to be trimmed and hanging branches eliminated. There is always the danger of plants weaseling their way into cracks and holes on the exterior of the house. It is better to nip them in the bud as they can cause extensive damage to the homes. Trees also have to be checked for interference with electric lines.

  • Make sure that the swimming pool has pumps and filtration systems that work effectively.

  • Check the exteriors of the house for paint requirements. Check if there are any holes in the brick work or any cracks in the foundation. 

 

Summer 

Summer is the perhaps the best time of the year to focus on the exterior of the home as well as gardens and lawns. This is the right time to put the garage to use by utilizing the prolonged daylight to neaten it up and complete projects that were left for another time.

Summer home maintenance check list includes:

 

  • First and foremost is to mow the lawn and trim the bushes. Weak and rotten trees or branches have to be removed. Clean garden lawn furniture and grills. Garden hoses may be checked for leaks. 

  • Better install window air conditioners or central air cooling systems or inspect if the existing ones are in good order.

  • Home security system needs to be addressed. Security guard system also has to be checked, or install one. 

  • Door and window screens to be checked and windows repaired or replaced as the need be. Door locks and door knobs to be ensured that they are working fine and deadbolts on doors can be installed if they are not found.

  • Lights and bulbs outside the house need to be checked and replaced. 

  • Ensure that septic tanks are in good working condition and the sewer lines are inspected.

  • Driveways, walkways and sideways, patios and walls need to be checked for cracks if any and replaced/repaired as needed. In general, it is better to give them a good washing.

  • Tubs, sinks, showers and drains must be cleaned. Faucets and toilets may be checked for leaks. 

  • Similarly, decks, steps and wooden structures must be checked for rot and repaired. 

  • Wooden surfaces may be checked for weather proofing if they are over two years or more.

  • Since summer is a playground for many an insect, chimneys and roofs can be checked and removed for flying insect nests. Ants, spiders, moths etc may also be common in homes - keep cobwebs cleared and ant poison handy.

  • Dryer vent systems and electrical cords can be checked for wear and tear. While the dryer is running, check if the exhaust is coming out. It should smell of fresh laundry. 

  • Garage cleaning is a summer ritual one must follow. Keep it clean and tidy. Give it a thorough going through at least once a year.

  • Grout in bathroom and kitchen has to be repaired as this will prolong the life of tiled surfaces

 

Fall

This is a perfect season to tackle important home improvement projects. This is the time of the year when the weather is dry and temperatures are moderate. Examine both the interior and exterior of the house. Although it is all right to manage many of the maintenance items on our own, it is better and safer to call for assistance whenever required.

 

  • It is a must to rake leaves and aerate the lawn.

  • Clean and inspect the gutters for spouts and leaves. Test the sump pump to find if it is working fine. 

  • Better inspect the attic for birds, squirrels, bats and other such guests and seal off entrance holes.

  • The house has to be weatherized to withstand the cold weather and insulate, weather strop, caulk, plaster, or replace windows.

  • This is the time to get the heating system ready for winter. Check and clean the furnace for air filters. Inspect and clean the hearth and stock up on firewood. Clean the chimney flue.

  • Clean the clothes dryer vent system as lint buildup can cause the dryer to run longer and this wastes energy and can lead to a fire. 

  • Remove unused lawn furniture, grills, hoses and other outdoor items.

  • Keep sidewalk salt, good shovels ready and you would never guess when the first snowflakes would come.

  • Close the swimming pool properly and ensure that water is drained from pipes. Better to cover the pool and keep it clean during the 'off' season.

  • An emergency survival kit for bad weather can be created with batteries, candles, water and packaged food.

  • Clean window air-conditioners and change screens to storm windows. It is better to get prepared for the ensuing winter by closing the outside unit with plastic sheeting and secure with bungee cords.

  • This is the time of the year when your home gets ready for winter; so check on the heater and remove sediments to make it efficient.

 

Winter

This is the time to go around through the interiors and check even for small things which she might have overlooked during the earlier seasons. This is also the season to get done projects be it painting or building shelves.

 

  • Icicles can be dangerous for those standing beneath them as they are incredibly heavy and can damage the house. Even the foundation of the house can be affected by water damage when they melt. Hence, de-icing is the first and foremost thing this winter season.

  • Test electricity with utmost care. Check whether all outlets are working. 

  • Car should be equipped with blanket, shovel, sand and first aid kit.

  • Canned goods and household items need to be stocked up - light bulbs and batteries. 

  • Check smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. 

  • Check refrigerator and freezer gaskets. A vacuum with brush attachment can be used to clean the coils at the back of the refrigerator.

  • Identify and repair any leaks in toilets. 

  • Not only inside the home, keep paths and driveways clear of snow and ice. 

  • Check for proper lighting inside and outside the house. Make sure that holiday lights inside and outside the house are in good working order.

  • Sinks, tubs, toilets may be checked for leaks in faucet and tank. 

  • Handles, knobs, racks need to be tightened for loose screws.

  • Caulking around showers and bath tubs needs to be repaired.

  • Clean shower of sediments so that their life is prolonged.

  • Deep clean basements and dust them up. Make sure that there is no mold anywhere around and ensure that the basement is given a good inspection at least once a year.

 

A home maintenance calendar should help to maximize your efficiency by actually getting these tasks done. Jot down the points on paper or your Smartphone and regularly monitor them for completion.

 

If you're planning on selling your home in 2015 getting a jump start on cleaning & maintenance now can save you time and reduce stress when it comes time to put your house on the market. We'd love to be the realtor team to help you sell your home (and help you find the next!). Please feel free to contact us with any questions you have and to schedule an appointment.

 

Source: Target Woman

 

Image Source: Sew Woodsy

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At this time of year it's good to make sure you're prepared in case you experience a power outage or are stranded due to bad weather. While living here in the Lower Mainland we tend not to see the harsh conditions that other parts of the province or country do, it's good to be prepared just in case. This is especially true if you drive or travel during the Winter months to regions that do experience harsher conditions. 

 

Here are some tips to help you get prepared & be safe during the Winter:

 

  • GET A GENERATOR- Have one on hand in case of power outages due to Winter weather
  • KNOW HOW YOU’LL USE THE GENERATOR. Make sure you know how to install and run your generator; take it out of the box & read the manual so you know what to do if you need it. You may have to have an electrician install a transfer switch and hardwire it to your furnace to generate heat. 
  • BE SURE TO HAVE A FULL GAS CAN. This is good to have on hand in case of emergencies, especially if you live somehwere with harsh Winter conditions that makes driving a challenge.
  • MORE GAS ADVICE: MAKE SURE YOUR CAR’S TANK IS FULL. This is important for several reasons: if you lose power, you’ll need your car to charge your phone. If you need to drive outside your region in an emergency or to find shelter, mostly likely local gas stations will be closed/ out of gas/ have long lines.
  • GET A CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTOR.  Very important for the cold season when you're heating your home nad/ or if you need to use a generator. Carbon monoxide is a toxic, odorless gas, so a detector is necessary to determine if it is present. 
  • MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A STOCKED FIRST AID KIT. This important for both the home and to keep in vehicles. Make sure you have necessary items in case of injury/ emergency.
  • KEEP BOTTLES OF WATER ON HAND. This is important for basic emergancy preparedness. Make sure to keep some at home and in your vehicle. 

  • Do you travel during the holidays or do you like to stay close to home? We love to hear what othes do at this time of year!
Image Source: Redhead Can Decorate


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During the Fall and Winter months we see our utility bills increase as we use more resources to heat our homes and stay cozy. However, without even knowing it, you can waste money by overlooking a few simple areas of your home. Here are a few tips to help you save on your energy bills this season.

 

1. Fix leaky faucets

If you live somewhere where you pay for your water consumption separately, you can be washing money down the drain- literally- with something as simple as a leaky faucet. To check, make sure your faucet is completely closed; if  drips of water continue to come out, check the washer or valve cartridges (in washerless models) and replace them if they are damaged or worn. 

 

2. Check your toilets

The same as above applies. Don't flush money away by having your toilet leaking water. To check, simply add some coloured bowl cleaner into the tank and wait several hours to see if it leaks into the bowl without flushing. If a leak is present, consider replacing the stopper in the bottom of the tank. 

 

3. Turn down your hot water tank

You might think you'll notice a difference in water temperature, but chances are you'll only notice a lower utility bill. You don't need to have your tank set to the highest heat to get the water to a satisfactory temperature. It can be surprising to see how much it's costing you to simply maintain the water at a certain temperature.

 

4. Look for drafts around doors & windows

You're spending hard- earned money to heat your home, and you don't want the warm air escaping through cracks around doors and/ or windows. If you notice a draft, chalking around frames can solve the problem. In some cases you may need to repair or replace windows or doors that are cracked or damaged.

 

Having an energy- efficient home not only saves you money, it's also a selling feature when you go to sell. Even at this time of year there is still plenty of competition in the market, usually with motivated sellers. Set your home apart and pay attention to details. For more info about selling at this time of year and to book an appointment, contact us today.


Image Source: Remodelaholic

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The leaves are changing colour, the air is getting a crisp edge, and soon Fall will transition into Winter. Just because the warmer months are behind us doesn't mean that listing your home at this time of year isn't without it's benefits. We found this great article from Morning Call that outlines the benefits to selling your home in the Fall & Winter. Read on to learn more.




Many home sellers choose to sit on the sidelines during the colder autumn and winter months and get in the game come springtime, when they expect greater interest from buyers. But with the right preparations, smart sellers can list now and sell quicker than expected, without hibernating through the winter, the experts say.

 
Many people consider fall and winter as the off season for real estate, with fewer shoppers hunting for homes and fewer listings from which to choose. That shouldn't necessarily dissuade people from listing their homes during the cold season, though, says Bruce Taylor, president of ERA Key Realty Services in Whitinsville, Mass.
 
The pool of prospective purchasers may be smaller, shoppers out hunting in fall and winter are usually more motivated and serious, often with a pressing need to close quickly and move in soon due to a job relocation or major life change. "These buyers out in the cold looking at homes are not 'tire kickers.' They want to buy a home and get moved in now," Klebba says.

 

Another advantage to listing now versus later is that there is less competition from other sellers."There are fewer houses on the market in the fall and winter, which may lead to more demand for your house," says Jack Gloriod, owner/agent with The Becky Gloriod Team, Colorado Springs, Colo.



 

Additionally, "Houses tend to show very well when decorated tastefully for the holidays, and buyers enjoy this," Klebba says. "And listing and selling in fall or winter could make it so the timing works out for the seller to take advantage of the coming new spring inventory and increase their odds of finding the perfect next home."


Exert from Off- season selling: Listing your home during the fall or winter brings advantages. Published on The Morning Call.


We're always looking to take on clients, even in the months that people view to be the 'slow season' in real estate. It's usually anything but slow! As realtors, we appreciate your referrals and are happy to work with clients we have developed relationships with, and new ones alike. If you or someone you know is thinking about selling this Fall or Winter, we would love to be the real estate team to help. Contact us to get things started!

- Drew & Team Steeves


Image Sources:

Yahoo Homes

Between Naps on the Porch

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In part 3 of our series of homestaging tips, we're talking about three spaces that tend to be very personal: the bedrooms, bathrooms, and home office. All of these spaces have the ability to make a good impression with buyers, but a little attention to detail can go a long way.

 

De- cluttering and cleaning up these spaces is important, and don't be afraid to shy away from a few simple and budget- friendly DIY projects to freshen these spaces and make them more appealing to buyers. A fresh coat of paint and updates can convince a buyer your home is right for them, especially when it means less work when they move in. 

 

Show off how beautiful your bedroom is with a be that is made and looks cozy. 

Simple touches- such as fresh paint and a few modern accessories

can help make a good impression with buyers.

 

Bedrooms:

- Clean & de- clutter; remove items from dressers and surfaces so the mess isn't distracting to potential buyers

- Dust and make sure light fixtures don't have any burnt- out bulbs (also make sure they're all the same, ie warm or cool light)

- Allow natural light into the room & turn on lights 

- Make beds berfore a showing and remove any toys and clothes from the floor

- Make sure closets are tidy and organized to showcase storage space

- If you don't have a headboard, consider making a simple & inexpensive one (check out these DIY projects for ideas)

 

Even if your home is older, painting the cabinets and changing the hardware is a great cost- effective way to update

this room. Putting out fresh towels and a few decorative touches can help highlight this space.

Bathrooms:

- Clean toilet & sink; remove any stains and residue (make sure to put the toilet seat down)

- Wipe faucets and counters; make sure the mirror is streak- free

- Clean out the tub and make sure the sower curtain is clean

- Put out fresh towels to make the bathroom look tidy 

- Remove any laundry and garbage

- Light a candle or spray some air freshener to make sure the bathroom smells fresh and clean

- Ventilate the room every day to help keep it smelling fresh

 

Showcase a home office by keeping it tiday and organized. Help buyers picture themselves working in the space

and make it warm & welcoming.

Office:

- Put away any personal paperwork; if you have a locked filing cabinet, make sure you file any documents you don't want people to see

- Tidy the desk and remove any untidy paperwork and clutter

- Make sure bookshelves are dust- free and organized

- Turn on a desk lamp if you have one to make the room feel cozy

- Tidy and/ or hide chords that can be a tripping hazard or are untidy

 

No matter the age of your home, a little attention to detail can make the difference between an interested buyer and a non- interested buyer. A clean and tidy home is essential to help it appeal to buyers, but a few added touched can really make it feel like home. If you're thinking about selling, we'd love to be the realtor team to help! Contact us today to book an appointment.

 

Image Sources:

HomeDIt

Involving Colour

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In part 2 of our series of homestaging tips, we're focusing on areas of the house that families spend a lot of time and have potential to make a big impact with buyers: the kitchen, family room, & dining room.


Read on for some great tips to help set your home apart from the competition.

 

 

Make sure your kitchen is free of clutter, is tidy, & bright to show off it's full potential


Kitchen:

- No dirty cloths or towels

- Tidy the inside of drawers and cupboards where needed

- Keep counter and island surfaces clear of clutter

- Take away items from above the fridge (such as cereal boxes), microwave, cabinets, and windowsills

- Remove magnets, etc from fridge

- Clean grout of tiles using a grout cleaner or bleach

- Scrub the sink & make sure it is clean and free of dishes


 

Make eating areas warm & inviting:

add little touches or set the table to make it look ready for guests


Dining Area:

- Remove items that create clutter & refine what decorations you have

- If you have a table with a leaf, make the space feel more spacious by removing it and extra chairs from table

- Clean sideboards and cabinets to showcase a few pieces, not a lot of disorganized clutter

- Dust surfaces

- Consider setting the table to make it look inviting; or simply add some fresh cut flowers and candles in the centre

 

 

Sometimes a simple DIY can take a room from 'bla' to 'WOW!'

 

Family Room:

- Be selective with what artwork and photos you keep on walls

- Make sure pictures are level & dust- free

- Remove clutter & make sure space is tidy and appears spacious

- Especially for small spaces: remove extra furniture that can make the space feel cramped and crowded

- Make sure floors are clean; vacuum carpets, and dust/ sweep hardwood & laminate

- Add storage with a simple weekend DIY using pre- fab shelves and crown molding to really make a statement (see photo above)


We hope you find these tips helpful. If you're thinking about selling your home and need some advice to help it sell fast and for the price you're looking for, we'd love to be the real estate team to help! Contact us today to schedule a meeting and get started.


 

Image Sources:

Chic Coastal Living 

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When you're getting ready to sell your home, paying attention to details can make the difference between a quick sale and a waiting game. By spending a little bit of time and money to help your home present well to buyers you can save valuable time and add value to your home. By staging your home you can help potential buyers see the potential of your house and help them visualize living there.


Here's a great example:



 

A client friend of ours recently sold her home and we asked her to provide some advice from her experience, here's some of what she had to say:

 

Make people feel welcome & at home with an inviting entryway:

 

 

If you need help selling your home, we'd love to be the team to sell it for you. Have questions about the process and how to get your house ready? We're happy to make your home selling experience a fast and stress- free experience. Contact us today to set up a meeting and get the ball rolling!

 

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ActiveRain

SomewhatSimple 

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Well it's officiailly Fall!

 

Now that the warmth and sunny days of Summer are behind us, it's time to make sure the outside of our homes are ready to face the elements of the cooler temperatures. It's important to get the exterior of your home ready before the weather gets too cold and wet.


Here's a great list from Decor and the Dog to help keep track of tasks:




And to help you narrow down your to- do list, here's some tips from Right At Home to identify areas to focus on:

 

Clean gutters and drainage spouts.

  Protect yourself first by always wearing gloves—animals or insects can hide in gutters. A gutter scoop is a convenient tool for removing leaves and other debris. Then place the garden hose in the downspout to flush it out.

Inspect your roof.

  Look for signs of deterioration (loose shingles, rotting wood, cracks, etc.). Carefully trim heavy branches that are hanging over your roof. (A falling branch could hurt someone, cause a blackout or damage your roof. If you're using your chimney, flying sparks could possibly ignite overhanging branches.) If the branches are near power lines, call a professional tree-trimming company to do the trimming; they may need to ask your power company to temporarily disconnect your power before they start working.

Check all windows and doors.

  Remove summer screens and install storm windows and doors. Inspect and repair any loose or damaged windows or door frames. Install weather stripping or caulking around windows and doors to reduce drafts too. If you discover signs of deterioration such as moisture on surrounding walls or dry-rot damage, call a certified home inspector or restoration specialist immediately.

Clean your heating system.

  Replace the filters in your furnace. (Swift recommends doing it monthly if you have allergies.) Check for air leakage around the joints. And consider having an air-conditioning and heating specialist check your entire system before winter sets in. If you don't already have one, install a carbon-monoxide detector near all appliances that burn fossil fuel, but be sure you install it in an area where you'll hear the alarm if it's triggered.

Check the smoke detector.

  Some people wait until they reset their clocks during Daylight Savings Time to inspect their smoke detectors, but if you missed it in the spring, don't wait another month—check them now. Press the button to make sure it beeps and replace batteries if necessary. Most smoke detectors signal with an automatic beep when the battery gets low, but it's always good to check on an annual basis. Smoke detectors should be replaced every 10 years; batteries should be replaced every six months.

Secure the cracks.

  From skunks to insects to other critters, your home can fall prey to unwanted invaders. Before they start seeking shelter from the cold, inspect the perimeter of your house for cracks or holes where they could enter and then seal well. Clean and lubricate the garage-door hinges, rollers and tracks to make sure the door closes securely. If you detect evidence of animal activity, such as urine odors, unexplained gnaw marks, feces or footprints, consult an exterminator.


Are you thinking about sellingyour home this Fall? We hope this will help you get ready to list your home. If you have any questions or would like help selling your home, contact us today!


Image Sources:

Home Depot

Decor and the Dog


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The data relating to real estate on this website comes in part from the MLS® Reciprocity program of either the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) or the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board (CADREB). Real estate listings held by participating real estate firms are marked with the MLS® logo and detailed information about the listing includes the name of the listing agent. This representation is based in whole or part on data generated by either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB which assumes no responsibility for its accuracy. The materials contained on this page may not be reproduced without the express written consent of either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB.