Shirley Brown, your local Coquitlam REALTOR®

(604) 939-6666

 

As you’re probably aware, the list price you set for your property has an impact on how quickly it sells — and how much you earn on the sale.


What you may not realize is just how significant an impact it has. Consider the following examples.


Example 1:


You price your property well above its current market value. As a result, many buyers don’t bother to see it because it’s outside of their price range. Those who do see it are confused by the high price tag, (and may even be suspicious.) They may wonder, “What’s going on?”


In this scenario, the home will likely languish on the market for weeks or even months. You might even have to lower the price dramatically to re- ignite interest.


Example 2:


You price your property just a couple of percentage points lower than what is necessary to gain the interest of qualified buyers. That might not seem like much of a problem. How much can a couple of percentage points matter?

Those points matter a lot.


On a $400,000 property, pricing your home just 2% lower than necessary could cost you $8,000 on the sale. That’s a serious amount of money!


So, as you can see, pricing your home right is serious business. Fortunately, a good REALTOR® knows how to set the right price.


Looking for a good REALTOR®?


Call today.


Shirley Brown

604-674-0047

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When you’re out-of-town, there are plenty of kennels and other facilities that will mind your dog or cat. In fact, the pet-care business is booming! However, the same options aren’t available for your houseplants. So what do you do?

First, keep in mind that plants can go for several days or even a couple of weeks without water. This frequently happens in their natural habitats. So if you’re gone for just a few days, your flora will probably be fine.


Flowering plants tend to need the most water. Give them an extra dose just before you leave. Also, make sure they are in indirect, rather than direct sunlight. That will help them conserve water.


If you’re going to be away for a week or more, consider one of the several products on the market that water plants automatically. Many of these allow you to adjust how much water each plant gets — and when.


You’ll find plenty of do-it-yourself instructions for making your own automatic waterer on the internet, from plastic cups with tiny holes in the bottom to upside-down bottles with wicks. These might work, but you’ll want to test them first. 


Of course, your best option might be to have a friend or trusted neighbour take care of the plants for you. Just be sure to give them clear instructions.


Your houseplants will thank you. 


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When you make an offer on a home, it’s a smart idea to have a professional home inspector check it out from top to bottom. This inspection will ensure that the property doesn’t have any unexpected “issues”. After all, you don’t want to buy a home only to discover that the roof needs to be replaced, immediately, for thousands of dollars.


That being said, you might question whether you really need to invest the few hundred dollars it costs for a professional home inspection. “The home we want to buy looks like it’s in very good shape,” you might be thinking. “I can’t see anything wrong with it.”


However, a professional home inspector can see things you can’t. When you view a property that’s on the market, you might be able to notice obvious issues, like a crack in the foundation or a dripping faucet. If you’re experienced with home maintenance, you might even notice roofing tiles that look like they’re overdue for replacement.

But you won’t pick up all the issues a home inspector can.


A home inspector will, for example, use a special device to check for moisture build-up in the washrooms – which can be an indication of mould. He or she will also inspect wiring to make sure everything is safe and compliant with the building code.


That’s not all.


Like a determined detective, a home inspector will investigate the property’s structure, electrical and plumbing systems, insulation, and other components — and then report the findings to you. 


In the end, a professional home inspection gives you peace-of-mind and protects your investment. So getting one is highly recommended — even for recently built homes.


A good REALTOR® can recommend a trusted home inspector for you.


Looking for more ideas on making smart decisions when buying a home?


Call today!

Shirley Brown 604-671-1060


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The “3 Up” Strategy for Selling Your Home Quickly


There are many reasons why you may need to sell your home quickly: a sudden job relocation; a change in family situation; or perhaps an opportunity to purchase a new home that you just can’t pass up.

Whatever the reason, this strategy will help when you need to sell fast. It’s called the “3 Up” strategy.


  • Fix it up.

  • Clean it up.

  • Spruce it up.


    First, you need to fix it up. That simply means getting things repaired around your property, such as a broken floor tile in the kitchen or a sticking patio door that’s difficult to open and close. Maintenance issues like these distract buyers from the appealing qualities of your home. Fortunately, repairs can usually be done quickly.

    Second, clean it up. Obviously, when your home is clean and tidy it’s going to look its best. You also want to eliminate as much clutter as possible. You don’t need to make every room look like a magazine cover — but that’s a good attitude to have when prepping your home for a quick sale!

    Finally, spruce it up. That means making any quick improvements that are going to make your home even more appealing. It might mean replacing the kitchen counters or giving the main rooms a fresh coat of paint.

    Of course, the number one strategy for getting that SOLD sign on your front yard is to select a great REALTOR®.




    Looking for a great REALTOR®? Call today. 

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Should You Sell First and Buy Later? Or Vice-Versa?


When you’re thinking of selling your home and buying another, you face the inevitable question: Should I list my property first or buy my new home first?


Let’s take a look at both options.


If you attempt to buy a property before listing your home, you run into a couple of challenges.

First, sellers may not take you seriously as a potential buyer. After all, you haven’t put your own home up for sale. As far as they’re concerned, you might merely be testing the market.


Second, your property might not sell as quickly as you thought it would. If there is an early closing date on the home you purchased, you might end up owning, and paying a mortgage on both properties, at least until your home sells.

If, on the other hand, you list your property before buying a new home, sellers will know you’re serious. That puts you in a competitive position in the event of multiple offers.


Also, if your home sells quickly, you’ll have the peace-of-mind of knowing exactly how much of a new home you can afford. You’ll be able to shop with confidence.


Of course, like the first option, there is a chance that the closing dates won’t match and you’ll end up owning two properties for a period of time. However, solutions such as bridge financing are available to help.

So, there is no perfect answer. A lot depends on the state of the local market.


Looking for a good REALTOR® who can help you decide which is the best move for you? Call today. 604-671-1060

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Something has just spilled on your favorite rug or carpet. There's a stain forming. You're worried. Will you be able to remove it? Will the stain set and stay forever?

Luckily, there's a good chance you can completely lift just about any kind of stain – if you follow a few guidelines.

The first rule of stain removal is: act fast. The fresher the stain, the easier it is to lift. So when you notice a stain of any kind, start to work on it right away. Don't wait.

Begin by trying to dry blot the stain. Avoid the temptation of using a wet cloth or detergent, at least at this stage of the game. Blot the stain gently with a clean, dry cloth or absorbent paper towel. Be patient. It may take several minutes before you see any results.

If dry blotting doesn't completely lift the stain, mix up a combination of one glass of water with one teaspoon of lemon juice. Again, take a clean cloth or paper towel, wet it with the water/lemon mixture, and gently blot the area (test on an inconspicuous area first). Wait five minutes, then try dry blotting again.

You may have to repeat the above process a few times.

Using a vacuum cleaner directly over the affected area can also help lift more of the stain.

If, after all your efforts, some of the stain is still there, place a couple of sheets of paper towel over the stain, with a few books on top to maintain pressure. Leave those there for 24 hours. Check every hour or so. If you see stain on the paper towels, you know it's working.

If all else fails, consider calling in a professional cleaner. They know all the tricks and can often perform a miracle for you!

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Why is it so important to know how much you can afford to spend on a home?

Two reasons.

First, you don't want to buy a property and then find out, only after you’ve moved in, that you can't financially maintain it. That would mean having to resell it under stressful conditions.

Second, you don't want to settle for a property that's less than ideal, when you really could have afforded the "dream home" you've always wanted.

So how do you figure out how much you can afford to pay for your next home?

The first step is to talk to a good REALTOR®. I will help you gain a clearer understanding of how much your current home will likely sell for in today's market. That amount, together with other financial resources you might have (such as savings), will determine your down payment.

The next thing you’ll need to figure out is your mortgage. I can help you find a lender who will take a variety of factors into account – income, credit rating, debts, expected down payment, etc. – to calculate the maximum amount of mortgage for which you qualify.

Say, through the proceeds of the sale of your home combined with your savings, your expected down payment is $90,000. If the lender authorizes a mortgage of $270,000, then you can afford a $360,000 home.

Of course, that doesn't mean you'll need to spend that much. In fact, a home that meets your needs in terms of property type, features, and neighbourhood, may in fact cost you less.

One thing is for sure. A good REALTOR® can work with whatever amount you can afford and show you homes on the market that most closely meet your needs.

Looking for a good REALTOR®? Call me today.

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Let's face it. Life can get complicated, complex and stressful very easily. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to simplify your life, especially at home. Here are some tips from the experts:

  • Don't be ruled by the TV guide. Instead, select what you want to see and then record those shows. That way, you can watch them anytime.
  • Prepare some meals in advance that can simply be heated up as needed. That reduces a lot of "after-work, gotta-get-dinner-ready" stress.
  • Create a weekly dinner menu. It takes some time to prepare, but it allows you to shop effectively, and greatly reduces the stress of figuring out what to cook each day.
  • Don't accumulate stuff you don't want or need. Give those things away.
  • Simplify your cleaning by dividing tasks into ten minute chunks (such as vacuuming the living room.) Then fit those tasks in here and there whenever you have ten minutes.
  • To avoid clutter, adopt the "touch it once" rule, which simply means putting things where they belong right away.
  • Think of the home-related chore you hate doing most. Can you outsource that to a local company, or a neighbour looking for some work?
  • Limit the time you and others in your family spend checking emails and text messages. Consider having an hour or two each evening that's "no screen" time.
  • Develop healthy routines, such as evening walks and family board game night.

These are just a few ideas. If you want to simplify your home life, you can probably brainstorm several other strategies and habits you can try. The idea is to make your home an enjoyable place to be – for you and your family.

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You will want to make the process of shopping for a home as productive and enjoyable as possible. After all, you'll be on a quest to find your next dream home. That's why it's important to take the right things with you:

 

  • A digital camera, so you can take pictures of the features you like in the properties you see.
  • A notepad, so you can take notes.
  • Measurements of your largest pieces of furniture, so you can confirm they'll fit in the rooms of properties you like.
  • A measuring tape.
  • Some healthy snacks and beverages, (especially important if you're taking the kids along).
  • A map of the area, so you can check out local parks and other neighbourhood features.
  • Clear driving directions to each of the properties you want to see.

 

One of the best ways to shop for a home, and actually enjoy the experience, is to work with a great REALTOR®. 

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You might have hired a painter, plumber, or renovator several times during your history of home ownership. But how many times have you hired a decorator?


For many homeowners, hiring a decorator is a first time experience. That’s what makes knowing how to choose the right one so challenging.


Here's a tip: Clip photos from magazines of rooms that match the "look and style" you want. Pay particular attention to desired colours, decor, accents, furnishings, and themes.

Then, when meeting with a prospective decorator, see if there's anything in his or her portfolio that matches your clippings. If there is, then you’ll have a good indication that he or she can pull off the look you want.

 

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If you've been thinking about selling your home, you might be waiting until the "market is right". After all, if the local market suddenly booms, your property will likely sell for a higher price.

That may be true. However, there are other factors to consider in your decision to list.

For example, will you be buying a new home as well? If so, then the higher selling price will probably be offset by the higher cost of the new property.

In addition, there may be characteristics of your home that will help sell it quickly and for a good price – today – regardless of the market conditions.


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How do you select the best moving company for your needs?


  • Ask for recommendations from friends other professionals in the local real estate industry.
  • Beware of fly-by-night operations. They may seem like a bargain, but you get what you pay for.
  • Does the company provide you with a written estimate and contract? (Beware of movers that just give you a price over the phone.)
  • Ask if they are covered by insurance, and what their policy is regarding lost or broken items. Make sure you receive a copy of their insurance certificate.

Finally, always ask what circumstances would result in extra charges being applied. The number one complaint received about movers by the Better Business Bureau is unexpected extra charges.

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When shopping for a new home, it's a good idea to try and see the potential of the property you're viewing. It may not be exactly what you're looking for "as is", but it may have the potential to become your dream home after some redecorating or renovating.

The challenge is, judging how much work is required. You don't want to buy a home with the expectation that it requires a $20,000 renovation, only to discover that it really needed three times that much!

That’s where a good REALTOR® can help.

I can help you get a realistic estimate of the cost of repairs, upgrades, and renovations, and even recommend some reputable interior designers or contractors.

That way, when you see a home with "potential", you'll be able to make a more informed decision.

Want more tips on finding and buying your next dream home? Call me today.

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One of the most prominent features of any home is the windows. When they are well maintained they have a positive impact on the impression people (such as potential buyers) will have of your property. The opposite occurs, of course, when your windows look old and worn.

So does that mean you should replace your windows?

That depends on a number of factors. Window replacement can be an expensive renovation. Here are a few things to consider before making your decision.

  • Do your windows get frost or condensation build-up on the interior side? This could be a sign that the windows are not keeping out the cold as well as they should.
  • Do you see water infiltration or mildew on the interior sides of any of the window sills? This means that moisture is creeping in from the outside, and you need to get those windows repaired or replaced as soon as possible.
  • If your windows are double-paned – (two panes of glass) – check for any signs of moisture in between the glass panes. Moisture indicates that the thermal seal is broken and at a minimum, the glass will need to be replaced.
  • Take a look at your windows from the outside. Is the trim rotted or cracked anywhere? Are there dark spots or any signs of rotting on the wood frames? Repairs or replacement may be required.
  • Check the operation of your windows. Do they open and close easily? This is important because some windows, such as those in bedrooms, are often designed to be big enough to use as an exit in case of a fire.
  • Finally, are you happy with how your windows look? Do you feel that your property will look significantly better with new windows?

Although they are expensive, replacing windows has a lot of advantages. Depending on the efficiency of your current windows, replacing them could cut your energy costs by 10-20%. In addition, new windows block out more exterior noise, making your home quieter.

Want more tips on increasing the value, and enjoyment, of your property? Call me today.

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Most people feel confident about the basics of home security. For example: Keep all doors locked. Have a light on in the house while away. Never hide a key outside in an obvious place, like under the mat.

  • Yet, almost a million and a half properties get burglarized in North America each year. So how can you prevent that from happening to your home? Here are a few less known home security basics:
  • Actually, never hide a key outside. Thieves know all the hiding places. Instead, make sure all family members have a key.
  • Two-thirds of home burglaries occur during the day. So be extra vigilant about making sure doors and windows are locked while you're away during the day.
  • Surprisingly, most thieves are not daring. They are 2.7 times more likely to target a home without an alarm system.
  • Thieves will attempt to force entry through sliding-style doors and windows first. So make sure these have a locking bar or extra bolt lock.
  • Surprising, 40% of household burglaries do not involve forced entry. The thief is able to slip in through an unlocked window or door.
  • Don't show off possessions! An imported racing bike parked next to the garage, or expensive audio equipment clearly seen through a window, is an invitation to burglars.
  • Take a look at the lighting and landscaping around your property. Are there spots where a thief could easily hide? If so, make some changes.
  • When planning a trip, have a trusted neighbour pick up newspapers, flyers and anything else that may accumulate at your door.

Your local police department may have more tips and special programs for keeping your home secure. Give them a call.

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Pollutants that most often affect indoor

air quality (IAQ) are either biological

(living organisms, like mould, bacteria

and dust mites) or chemical (usually

from outside air, indoor combustion,

and common household products). To

improve IAQ, homeowners are advised

to both prevent them from entering the

home and to eliminate them from the

inside. A proper system can do both. In a

sealed home environment, most incoming

air can be directed by circulation fans

through a mechanical filtration system

that eliminates the bulk of common

airborne offenders. Even if windows or

doors are frequently opened, the air can

be channeled through the system. In

addition, electronic air cleaners can be

very effective at removing pollutants from

the air in specific rooms. A third portable

type called ion generators are also

common, but they should not be used if

they create harmful ozone gas as a byproduct,

as it can make breathing all the

more troublesome. If you’re unsure of the

best treatment for your home, consult a

reputable IAQ professional.

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Thanks again for your overwhelming response for “The Shelter Foundation” as we try to help end Violence against woman. Check out the website  www.shelterfoundation.ca

Please come out and support the Foundation at the Garage Sale on Saturday May 11

We will also have bake sale, BBQ hot dogs etc, face painting for the kids and adults as well.

 

Also we have containers for “Pennies for Shelter” Bring all the pennies you have around the house, ask your friends & family& neighbours.

 

You can help with your support which will Help Women And Children Escape Violence And Rebuild Their Lives.

 

Thanks again and it you have any questions please call me directly at 604-671-1060 or email me at shirleybrown@shaw.ca

 

Best Regards

Shirley Brown

 

 

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When you’re looking for a new home, you want to find one in a great neighbourhood – or, at least, in a neighbourhood that is on the upswing. How can you tell if a particular area is improving? Here are some common indicators:

  • Pride of ownership. Take a walk around the neighbourhood. Do you get a sense that people take good care of their homes? Are the lawns mowed? Is the landscaping trimmed? Are flowers planted? Homeowners are more likely to look after their properties when they like where they are living.
  • Home improvements. Are people investing in their homes? Are they getting their driveways re-done? Their windows replaced? Are there signs of home improvement projects? If so, this is a clear indication that homeowners like the area enough to invest in their properties.
  • Real estate sales activity. Do homes tend to sell quickly in the area? Do they sell for a good price? If so, the neighbourhood is probably in demand. If people want to live there, it's a desirable area.
  • Business investment. Are businesses investing in the surrounding area? Is there an increase in the number of upscale shops, health clubs, restaurants, and other commercial enterprises that often locate near desirable neighbourhoods?
  • Community involvement. Are there signs that the community plays an active role in the look and lifestyle of the neighbourhood? Are there neighbourhood picnics, yard sales and other get-togethers? Check Facebook.com to see if the neighbourhood has a community page.
  • City plans. Find out what plans the city has for the area. Will there be road improvements done in the near future? Are there any major construction projects on the schedule, such as a new school or community centre. Although such projects can be disruptive in the short term, they may improve the neighbourhood – and, as a result, boost the value of any home you buy – in the long-term.

Of course, the best way to find out the desirability of a neighbourhood is to talk to a good REALTOR® who knows the area. Call me today.

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When you’re shopping for a new home, you want to find a property that has all the features and characteristics you want. A large deck surrounded by picturesque landscaping ... a beautiful kitchen with gleaming marble countertops... a cozy finished basement with fireplace....

You should look for the ideal home. You deserve it! But some home buyers make the mistake of becoming fixated on finding the "perfect" property, and passing too quickly on those homes that don't quite measure up.

Why is that a mistake? Because some of those less-than-perfect properties have the potential of becoming your next dream home.

First of all, a home that is lacking some desirable features, such as a finished basement, will probably cost less. Those savings may be more than enough to cover any needed upgrade or renovation.

Secondly, if you look at a home in terms of its potential, rather than the features it happens to have now, there will be more properties available on the market for you to consider.

If you're determined to have a large wrap-around deck for entertaining, for example, don't cross homes that don't have this feature off your list. At least not yet. Instead, view these properties with an eye on potential. Is the backyard big enough to accommodate a large deck? How would a deck like that look if added to this particular property? How much would such a renovation cost?

There's no doubt about it. You want to find a home that has all the features and characteristics you want. If you work with a good REALTOR®, there is a good chance you'll find a property that has most of them.

But keep an open mind. Sometimes a "diamond in the rough" can – with an upgrade or renovation – become a home you'll treasure for years.

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Selling your property and buying a new home can be a potentially intimidating experience... so much so that these jitters may even prevent some people from making a move!

It doesn't have to be that way.

A big part of the stress of selling and buying comes from not understanding the process or having unanswered questions. You might worry about how the state of the market will affect the value of your purchase over the long term or what you would do if you found your dream home before receiving any offers on your current property.

That's where a good REALTOR® comes in. I can explain the process to you, answer all your questions, and show you how to make your move go smoothly.

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Home safety is more than locked doors and alarms 



When it comes to home security, most homeowners think about door locks and alarms. These are, of course, very important. However, there is also a lot you can do around your property to prevent the possibility of a break-in.

 

One important part of home security is outdoor lighting. Your home doesn't need to be lit up like a baseball diamond at night, but your exterior lighting should illuminate your yard enough to be a deterrent to burglars.

 

Some burglars hide around the property and wait for someone to arrive and open the door so they can use that opportunity to force their way into your home.

Security experts suggest that you walk around your property and look for areas where someone could hide, such as behind tall shrubbery like a cedar hedge or behind a tool shed. Make sure these areas are well lit.

 

Pay particular attention to lighting around exterior doors, especially the back door.

 

Home security experts also recommend that exterior lighting be installed with a timed dimmer. The lights can then be set to cast a bright light in the early evening, and then a dimmer light throughout the rest of the night.

 

Lights installed with motion detectors can also be effective in certain areas. The sensors will cause the light to turn on or brighten when someone comes onto that part of your property. Generally, thieves will flee as soon as they see a light turn on.

 

Do you hide a spare key under the front door mat or in a flower pot? No matter how clever you think you are, experienced thieves know all the common hiding places. So, if you need to have a spare key available, put it in a small combination lock box and hide the box. That way, if a burglar finds the box, he still won't be able to open it and access the key.


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.