More and more you are seeing real estate marketing directed toward the home buyer’s lifestyle.

Although, some buyers still buy homes because they show very well and are furnished nicely, they make buying decisions based on their emotions rather than logic.

For example, if a buyer likes to walk or ride a bike to run errands then perhaps the location of the house needs to be close to as many of these amenities as possible or if the buyer has a long commute to work their new house needs to be close to public transit or have good highway access. If there are children in the family then the location of schools and parks is important.

Now let’s talk about the house. What does the house need to have to fulfill the buyer’s lifestyle needs? In other words, how do they intend to use the house?

If they like to have friends over and everyone likes to pitch in with the food preparation then they may need a house with a large kitchen that opens up to a family room. This set up would also work well if there were younger children as they could be in the family room, in full sight, while the adults are preparing the meal.

Another thing to consider with children is the location of the bedrooms, because of noise levels in the house when children are sleeping. The yard should be an adequate play area for the children to enjoy their outdoor activities. As the children get older, will the house adapt well to their new needs, such as a place to go when their friends come to visit. It’s funny how your house seems to shrink as your children grow up.

To sum it all up, the buying tip is, when you are looking to buy your first or next home, make sure you seriously consider all your lifestyle needs and make your decision based on how you will be using the home to satisfy those needs.

Why is My House Not Sold? It Can’t Be the Price!

sold copy 2Well, good news and bad news… It might not be the price, but then again maybe it is.

If you have your house on the market and are asking this question, first, consider how long it has been on the market and compare that to the average days on market for your area. If you’ve been less than or pretty close to the average, patience may be all you need. Not too much mind you. The averages don’t leave a lot of room for error.

If you have been for sale for more than the average time, you should consider the fact that the two primary reasons a home doesn’t sell are price or the sales representative. This is not to suggest you should fire your current sales rep. I’m afraid that’s likely not the problem, but it could be. You need to sit down with your sales representative and discuss what has been happening. Hopefully you have had regular contact with your rep, so this discussion should just be a refresher on what has transpired and what they have been doing to actively promote your property.

If upon review you feel that an effective marketing plan has been created and implemented, it’s time to have the dreaded price discussion. Your rep should sit down and go through an updated Comparative Market Analysis with you, thoroughly reviewing the properties similar to yours that have sold recently, what has been taken off the market and what has come onto the market.

The ones that have sold during the time you have been listed may have been bought by people who also looked at your house. You need to consider why they bought the other house when they were given the choice of yours. The properties that have come on the market are now your competition. Do they show better than yours? Are they better priced? These are all things you need to consider.

It is quite possible that both you and your sales rep believe that time is the answer. It is possible you are at a price point in the market where very few properties are selling. In such a situation you may feel waiting is the answer.

Hamilton is currently experiencing a market that favours the seller. In such a market, well priced homes generally sell in shorter periods of time. If you have determined that your property has been properly exposed, you truly do need to reduce your price to get it sold. REALTORS® often comment that ‘price fixes everything’. This can be very true. Perhaps your home needs updating, or it doesn’t show like a ’10’, or it is not in an ideal location… There are lots of reasons, but if it’s well priced to reflect these issues, there is a buyer out there for it.

As I read this over, I’m thinking I should consider taking my own advice. I’m ready to get my house sold… It’s been on the market long enough!


I was talking with a longtime friend yesterday and he was telling me his daughter lost her home to a fire. Fortunately no one was injured but they did lose everything, including many personal items that can never be replaced.

So I thought I would send out this home fire safety checklist for you to evaluate your home and make any necessary changes to your home or how you do everyday things around the home in a safe manner. Be sure to get your children involved as they need to understand the importance of fire safety.

Your home should be free from all life-threatening fire hazards and you should be prepared if a fire occurs in your home. Take a few minutes to ask yourself the following questions. If you answer “no” to any of them, you may have a serious fire hazard in your home or lack the necessary knowledge and equipment to protect you and your family from fire. If you need assistance, contact your local fire service.

Fire Escape Planning

Does your family have a fire escape plan?

Does your entire family practice a home fire drill at least twice a year?

Does your family have a meeting place outside at the front of your home where you can count to be sure everyone has escaped?

Does everyone know two ways out of all areas in your home or apartment?

Smoke Alarms

Does your home have at least one smoke alarm on every level?

Are the smoke alarms tested monthly, vacuumed every 6 months, batteries replaced annually, and alarms over 10 years old replaced with new ones?

Heating Safety

Do you have your furnace, pipes and chimney cleaned and checked by a qualified specialist before each heating season?

Do you keep portable space heaters at least one meter (3’) away from drapes, couches, etc.?

Is your fireplace equipped with a close-fitting metal fire screen or heat-tempered glass doors?

Are ashes for disposal kept in metal containers?

Are wood burning stoves installed in conformance with applicable codes?

Fuel Safety

Are all flammable liquids, solvents and adhesives stored in approved containers?

Are these items stored and used in well-ventilated areas, away from children, sparks or heat?

Do you store all gasoline and gasoline-powered appliances outside the house?

Do you use propane appliances such as barbecues, and store space cylinders at least 1 meter away from building openings?

Do you use your barbecue away from combustibles such as siding, fencing, furniture, etc.?


Is your stove kept clean and free of grease?

When cooking, do you avoid wearing loose clothing with long sleeves?

Do you keep paper towels, tea cloths, curtains and other combustibles away from the stove and other heat sources?

Do you keep a tight fitting lid handy, which can be used to smother a small fire in the pot before it spreads?


Do you keep your basement storeroom, garage and yard clear of rubbish and other combustible waste?

Is all necessary storage kept away from sources of heat, such as the furnace, radiators and portable heaters?


Do you check electrical cords and plugs for damage and wear?

Are extension cords being used only as a temporary measure?

Are you sure that extension cords and circuits are not overloaded?

Are only 15 amp fuses used on lighting and small household appliance circuits?

Candle Safety

Do you use candles with caution and ensure that they are placed in sturdy non-combustible containers that fully enclose the flame?

Do you make sure that all candles are extinguished before leaving the rom and never use candles in bedrooms?

Fire Extinguishers

Do you have an adequate multi-purpose fire extinguisher available?

Do you know how to use it properly?

Matches & Lighters

Are matches and lighters stored out of the reach of children, in a locked cabinet?

If you smoke, do you have just one lighter or a book of matches and keep it with you at all times?

If a fire does strike your home, remember these important points:

Alert everyone in the house/apartment and follow your escape plan.  Never go back inside for any reason.

Call the Fire Department as soon as possible from a safe location.  Meet our firefights and tell them of any people or pets trapped inside.

Goals? Or is it a Bucket List?


Have you checked anything off your bucket list? Do you even have a bucket list?

As managers, Gary and I always encourage people to set goals, whether they be personal, business, financial or others, but I find as individuals, we rarely talk about our bucket lists. You have all heard of the movie, but have you taken the time to decide what you really want to do before it’s too late? I’m not suggesting the Grim Reaper is waiting, but maybe your list would have things on it that you aren’t going to want to, or be able to do, when you retire.

Maybe it’s travel, maybe you want to climb Mount Everest, maybe it’s a personal accomplishment, only you can decide, but we should all have the list, and we should take the time to do these things! Sometimes the items on this list are the “white hot WHY” of our everyday business. It’s easy to stay on track when you have a driving reason to do so. This is often the difference between having a job, and having a profession.

The list I started years ago, when I first started working, included seeing all the provinces, and also a list of cities I wanted to visit. New Orleans, Las Vegas, New York City, San Francisco, and more. (only one city left, and not for long!). My list has evolved over time to include different activities, as opposed to destinations. Planning to complete these items has at times provided a push to do things I maybe wasn’t all that enthusiastic about, but by completing them, I got where I wanted to go.

I challenge you all to consider what you have outstanding on your list. (if you haven’t started a list, please start one now!). Now is the time to do what you really want to do, and focus on what you need to do to make it a reality. You won’t be disappointed!

Don’t put off these “white hot whys”. Make them a reality, and then imagine another!

Take a minute and share what’s on your list. Maybe you will inspire someone else to add something from your list to theirs.



spring pictureWhen I was driving to the office yesterday I noticed a few things were happening that I hadn’t seen in a while. I noticed that there was a green haze in the landscape replacing the browns and greys of the winter months. Spring flowers were finally in bloom.

I enjoyed the smell of fresh cut grass as I passed a soccer field. Motorcycle riders have awakened and they are everywhere. Classic cars are reappearing for their first outing after a long winters’ nap.

The long range weather forecast is sunny and warm for the next several days. I think spring IS finally here and summer is just around the corner. Winter seemed to drag on this year as we experienced a cooler and wetter transition into spring.

Friends and clients are asking if the spring real estate market is finally going to start. This is a tough question. Over the past few months housing inventory has been low, buyers had less to choose from, which resulted in bidding wars for some properties with sale prices over asking. The average sale price in our market continues to rise.

I think the weather did play a part in the overall attitude of the consumer this year but I think change is in the air. Over the last week we have seen more listings coming on the market and the number of incoming calls to the office is definitely on the rise.

Now back to this glorious weather. Take advantage of it. Get started on those outdoor projects. Go for a long walk. Enjoy a bike ride. Take the kids to the park. Whatever you do, do it outdoors!

And if you’re thinking of making a move this year, now is time to talk to your real estate professional. Good luck and enjoy this fantastic weather.