Home and Real estate blog

How to Have the Perfect Open House

When you’re in the real estate business, open houses are everything. Whether you represent a buyer or a seller, you’re going to be going to your fair share of open houses. For the purposes of this article, we’re going to be talking about representing the seller’s side, and how to host a great open house that will get multiple bids on your property. Here are some good tips. [Read the rest of this entry…]

Invest In Profitable Mississauga Real Estate

Mississauga real estate is undoubtedly an investment to watch out for in the days ahead. Living in a condo is like living in your own home but without any need for maintenance. It can be compared with sleeping on a bed without worrying about the bed-making process. 

Condo living can easily be termed as easy of living and this has made condo business in Mississauga the investment of the future. There are many baby boomers who are approaching retirement age bracket and who are prospective owners of condos that are coming up throughout the region. As most of them progress into old age, their energy might have reduced drastically and thus might not be able to bear with the hassles of life and this means the quiet lifestyle offered by the condos will be a perfect fit for them. 

filedesc Mississauga's "condo" skyli...

filedesc Mississauga’s “condo” skyline.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The comfort one would get in a condo is largely determined by the type of services available when buying the units. There are different types of services available and some of the tariffs available are more advanced than others.  


Before purchasing a Mississauga condo it is important to check the entire list of services offered. Check whether it has any limitation of the number of annual maintenance calls that you can make based on your entitlement. Does the contract include any routine maintenance checks? Do you have a say in the choice of a shop and is there shopping transport available?  


You should also consider whether there are any rules included in the list and which you might not be comfortable with. For example, is there any night time limitation for noise? Can you do barbeques in the patio or balcony? You should ask for a list of full services written down and dated. As you draw the purchase agreement, consider having the full service list affixed to the agreement as an appendix. You should also have the terms of the list signed into your contract. 


You should look beyond the facilities offered and the layout of the condo as there are many other necessary factors to consider. Consider the surrounding area and see whether the environment favors your desired lifestyle. Many Mississauga condos are located near town and shopping malls which make it easy to walk around and relax. The facilities offered within the proximity should also feature in your considerations based on your lifestyle and age. Making a wise decision is always necessary and this means looking at the available condos from different angles if you are to get real value for your money!




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One of the Biggest Jumps for UK Property Asking Prices

The housing market in the UK is consistently seeing change, and has of late been on the rise. More specifically, throughout the December to January period, the average asking price for UK properties rose significantly, indeed it’s probably one of the biggest jumps on the property market in recent times.

Although this may seem like a boon for existing homeowners and property owners looking to sell, this may bode ill for first-time buyers. In addition, this rise contributes to the risk of a housing bubble.

Unusual rise in house prices over Christmas
According to the latest figures released by estate agency specialists, Rightmove, the properties coming onto the market rose 1% between December 9th 2013 and January 11th 2014. This is starkly contrasted to the typical fall of around 0.2% during the same period over the last 10 years.


UK property prices have jumped recently.
Image source: http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2517/4192915147_0a827bac63.jpg

Over the whole of the last 12 months, the annual price growth in the housing market was 6.3%. This is a very significant rise; in fact it’s the highest documented since November 2007. The property market therefore is most definitely on the up, and although this is aligned with a rise in the rate of the cost of living, property prices have risen more than three times the rate of inflation.

Double-edged sword
The rise in the market may be attributed to the success of Britain’s growth, particularly when taking into account falling unemployment rates, record low interest rates and government mortgage schemes. In comparison to many other major industrialised economies in recent months, Britain’s growth, in the housing market in particular, is significant.

Yet this speedy recovery of the market may be a little too quick. In response to the recent growth, the Bank of England announced that it would be scrapping incentives for mortgage lending under its Funding for Lending Scheme. However, the sector still remains supported by the Help to Buy mortgage guarantee programme set up by the government.

This rise in the market reflects a greater demand for housing. Rightmove have identified early signs of a more abundant supply of existing homes coming onto the market in 2014 to meet this, yet also suggested that more construction projects in both the private and social sectors will be necessary to help deal with the expected levels of demand.

Uncertain future
As mentioned before, it can be considered a great thing that the housing market is prospering and growing so much recently, it acts in favour of existing homeowners and is a boon to the UK economy. However, it also acts as a barrier to potential first-time buyers, but more significantly there is a very real risk of creating a housing bubble.


Getting the keys to your house is always a special moment.
Image source: http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3618/3608960623_5849137fba.jpg

A housing bubble is a phenomenon in which house prices rise to the extent that they peak and plateau too soon. This is shortly followed by a dramatic drop in prices and can really damage the industry as a whole, leaving any home-owners caught in negative equity. A sharp rise in prices and quick growth is one of the primary contributors to this risk and perhaps the increase seen between December and January is merely a forewarning of a crisis in future. So enjoy the success while it lasts, because gained too quickly, it can lead to downfall.

Image credits: Roger4336 and Stevendepolo

Identifying Necessary Roof Repairs

roofMost people do not give much thought to their roof. So long as it continues to function correctly, you probably do not have any reason to question the integrity of the roof on your home or business. However, even in sunny Southern California, roofs can slowly lose their integrity over time. The conditions that lead to damaged roofs can be identified early on which gives you the chance to arrange for Oak Park roof repair before conditions are too far gone. [Read the rest of this entry…]

Real Estate – Vacuumed Home

From the front to the back of your cerebrum sparks of electricity shoot through. A myriad of images, words, and thoughts unfold like opened folded paper. An empty home that was bare of anything of your own, sat waiting for your arrival. Days, months, years passed and things happened here – the comfy couch where you and your friends watched a horror movie together, the kitchen when one year ago you dropped chips all over the cleaned floor, the bedroom where you combated dust bunnies that collected under your bed with the best robot vacuum, and you and your family sighed relief after cleaning the living room, only for the dog to enter, shaking flung dirt all over the area. [Read the rest of this entry…]

An Overview Guide of the Property Planning Application Process in the UK

Planning a home improvement project can lead to a brilliant addition; not only does it give you more space, whether it’s for your belongings or extra family members, but it adds to the property value too. However, with certain types of development you will need the relevant permissions before you start any work.

If this is the case you will need to submit a property planning application to your local authority before you start. This article shall look at the basics of the process of submitting a property planning application.

Why Property Planning Applications?

It may seem like unnecessary red tape, but a property planning application really is essential. Not only is it vital for you as a homeowner, to ensure that you won’t run into any problems with your extension, but also to ensure that there are no problems for other people or the local council.

Checking that the ground you wish to extend into is fair game is a must to ensure that you don’t run into any problems later down the line. You may think that extra bit of space in front of your house is the ideal place to put a conservatory, but if the proposed extension would therefore be too close to the road you may run into issues later on, such as blocking lines of sight for passing traffic.


Planning a property needs to be done properly.

Image source: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8202/8228410750_02227c39e6.jpg

Not only is it important to submit a property planning application for your sake, but for the sake of others too. Proper property planning takes into account the height of extensions for example to ensure that there is no breach of a neighbour’s privacy. It even includes the aesthetics of your extension for the sake of others; let’s say you want to attach a very out-of-place modern extension to an old cottage in a community consisting primarily of similar buildings, it may be declined for the sake of the village and others in the community. Many consider this to be a fair decision; after all, the additional housing value of other properties from being located in an idyllic quaint hamlet may be decreased if you ruin the ambience with your extension.

Do You Need to Submit a Property Planning Application?

Generally speaking, there are some projects that shouldn’t really require any form of planning permission. Anything that doesn’t extend beyond the boundaries of the existing property is usually fine; many interior renovations therefore can proceed without a planning application. Equally some extensions don’t need any planning permissions, such as some conservatories. However, it’s always worth checking beforehand, just to be sure.

If there’s any concern that your project will interfere with or runs close to any boundaries of your property, it’s worth submitting a planning application. If you have any concerns regarding the structural stability of the ground to be built on or the proposed extension it’s also a good idea to submit an application. In general, it’s always best to submit one if you aren’t sure, just to check that everything can go ahead as planned. Seek the advice of an Architect’s firm if you are in any doubt, they will have substantial experience of the planning process and you could save a lot of money later on!

Different Councils, Different Rules

The last thing to be aware of is that different local councils have different rules when it comes to submitting planning applications. Not only are there different rules in terms of proximity to boundaries or aesthetic limitations, different areas pose different hindrances to construction.


A well finished property is very satisfying.

Image source: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8058/8176716734_bb34870bfb.jpg

 For example, if you live in low-lying land which is prone to flooding there will be more stringent restrictions on building works. Equally if you live in an area populated by endangered or protected species, there may be further limitations. As such, it is always good to submit a planning application or at the very least get in touch with your local council to ask if there may be any issues regarding your project.

How it Works

The application process is a simple one, after you have submitted your application, the local authority will review it and within roughly 21 days will respond with permission, a flat refusal and the grounds for doing so, or suggestions as to what needs to change to get approval.


Submitting a property planning application is a simple and necessary process for most home extension projects. It’s not always necessary, but it’s best to check with your local planning authority to be on the safe side.

Image credits: Eric Fischerand archer10 Dennis


Creative Ways To Showcase Your Bathroom Linen

Not everybody likes to hide away their bath towels, face cloths and bathrobes, let’s face it, sometimes they are just too beautiful and touch-ably soft to spend their time sitting in some dark linen cupboard, waiting for special guests or their turn to be used. But how can we show these wonderful pieces off to the best of our advantage without hanging them off every available surface in the bathroom? Well, I’ve come up with a few ideas, some new and some old, that you may want to try.

Leave Them Hanging


Towel rails needn’t be a thing of the past, nor some ugly bar where you sling your towel in order for it to dry out in wait for the next time you use it. There are some truly gorgeous designs out there and in more than enough styles to suit any bathroom you could think off – from carved wooden stands to heated spirals that attach to your wall, even some ornate rinds or cute beach style door hooks lined up against the wall. Show your towels off in style with which ever type you choose.

Simple Shelving

Though it may seem like a boring idea there are so many types of shelves available – from pretty chrome ones that arch over the toilet, floating shelves to free standing towers made of dark wood with a storage cupboard to boot, there are plenty of different shelves to suit your taste. If like us at http://furnishinghomes.co.uk/ you like the idea of dark wooden shelves to showcase your lighter towels as it makes such a lovely contrast!

Hanging Hampers

Here’s a novel idea, why not turn some woven hampers on their sides and attach them to the wall, fold or roll your towels and stack your hampers in decreasing size and you have something that is not only functional but pretty to look at and novel to boot. If you want to you can find hampers in varying sizes and colours as well as dip-dying them to match your bathrooms colour scheme.

Wonderful Wine Racks

You may have seen some of the large styles wine racks that are also sold as towel holders. These pieces are lovely and tend to be antique looking metal pieces that can easily hold rolled up bath or hand towels, in fact they can come in either size. They are also easily re-painted so if you want a darker or different coloured holder you can paint it to match your decoré, plus you only has to worry about rolling your towels instead of fussing over creases if they hand from rings on the walls!

Towels Under Glass

I happen to love the idea of a glass fronted wooden cabinet or cupboard in your bathroom as a way to display your towels. You get to create the illusion of extra space whilst displaying your towels for any guests or visitors who may find themselves in need, whilst also keeping your towels dry. Perfect for after an impromptu water fight has broken out and you and your guests are desperately seeking out towels – they’ll be there dry and in plain sight!

Top Tips to Get Your Home Sold Fast For the Right Price

Getting your home ready for potential buyers to come and view it can prove to be a stressful time. However, if you want to get your home sold fast and for the right sort of money, then you have to be prepared to get it in pristine condition so that people want to buy it before they actually view it in person. Below are a few essential tips that will help you get your house noticed and sold in record time.


Curb appeal is crucial when selling your property fast

De-cluttering is Essential but Keep it Looking Homely

You need to de-clutter your home however, make sure it still looks warm, welcoming and homely. With this said tidying up the inevitable accumulation of objects and things that seem to end up in all the nooks and crannies is a very good plan. One thing you should avoid doing is hiding it all away in cupboards, better to pack it all up in boxes and storing it with family or friends until you more into your new place – remember people will want to look in cupboards!

The important thing is to give your home a makeover so it’s well presented because people coming to view it will want to see the sort of space they are going to get for their money. This includes the attic, the garage, the cupboards and how big each of the rooms are. However, your home still needs to look like a “home” and not some show house that lacks any sort of character or personality. Many people are not only looking to buy a new property but they are also seeking to “buy” into a new lifestyle.

One very good way of de-cluttering and giving the impression that rooms are larger is to remove any big furniture items and replace them with smaller ones – this is a great strategy that makes rooms appear larger, airier and roomier.

Neutral colours together with less clutter makes for a brilliant first impression


A Fresh Coat of Paint Works Wonders

If you need to fix anything around the home, you should do so before putting your house on the market and this includes giving it a thorough “spring clean” and a lick of paint where needed. Neutral colours on walls make rooms lighter, airier and bigger looking. Potential buyers will be able to visualise their own belongings in your home that much easier too. A newly painted front door gives a house lots of valuable curb appeal and this is really important when selling a property and highly recommended by estate agents. The old adage of first impressions count are very true when selling your home.

Give Your Kitchen a Facelift

It’s always a good idea to give kitchens a facelift when selling but you don’t have to go mad and fit a complete new kitchen because it would be impossible to know what other people might want. The important thing is to ensure any little repairs are done and this includes filling in all the holes in the walls, replacing any cracked tiles and replacing any old carpet or flooring if needed.

Surfaces have to be clear of everything, sparkling clean and if you need to repair any grouting, then you should do so. Hang fresh tea towels so the kitchen has that “spotless” look to it that buyers find so appealing.

Give Your Bathroom the Once Over

The same applies to bathrooms as it does to kitchens. A gorgeous bathroom and fantastic kitchen have been known to clinch a sale which means it’s really important for your bathroom to be a room that potential buyers would love to spend a relaxing time in.


Getting a property in fantastic shape so it sells quickly for the right money might take a bit of effort and planning. However, the effort is very worthwhile because whoever comes to view your home will be instantly impressed.

Remember it is often the little details that count so making sure that windowsills are dust-free, windows are sparkling clean and the first thing people see is a tidy front garden or entrance, will make the sort of impression you had been hoping for when it comes to selling your home.


Image credits: JulesWH and Quiltingsusy

The Benefits of Using a Property Management Company

Being a landlord can be daunting and exciting at the same time. Investing in real estate can be profitable and it can lead to long term residual income. However, being a landlord can be hard and it can be confusing at times. One way to make your life as a landlord easier, is through the use of a property management firm. Here are a few ways they can make managing your property worry free.

Tenant Screening

One of the biggest concerns for many landlords is finding the right tenants. Most property management companies have a firm process in place for the application and approval steps. This screening process usually includes a criminal background check as well as a credit check to check for evictions from other landlords. This can be a painstaking and expensive process when handled by an individual, but it can often be handled within 24 hours when done through an established process and company.

*Screening your applicants does not nullify the possibility of getting a bad tenant but it does certainly reduce the risk.


Another advantage of utilizing a property management company is they handle all the maintenance and repairs for your investment property. For example, if a tenant calls and says they have a leak in the bathroom, your property management company will handle it. You don’t have to worry about trying to find an emergency contractor or an after-hours service. You can simply stay in bed and rest assured that your property is safe and being taken care of.


Having a property management firm take care of your investment property ensures that all necessary processes are taken care of in a consistent and timely manner. There are several circumstances that will make it difficult to do everything that needs to be done such as your own employment, living in a different city, and just life in general.

Being consistent helps you as a landlord remain professional, which your tenants will appreciate. They will be glad to know they can call with a question or concern, knowing that someone will not only answer the phone, but will also provide them with a solution to their problem. The property management company will also be well versed in all the legalities of the landlord tenant laws, helping you avoid costly lawsuits by ensuring all laws are observed by both parties.

Managing a long-term investment property by oneself can be done, however, it’s often a stressful and tedious job. And while hiring a property management company can cut into your monthly bottom line, it allows you to collect a paycheck while doing minimal work. It’s definitely something to consider and look into. For more information, contact Better Choice Homes, a property management company in Arizona. 

Fire Sprinkler System for Home Protection

As a tested and proven technology that has saved lives and property from fire damage for over 200 years, the fire sprinkler system has moved from the industrial and commercial factory setting into offices, hotels, restaurants, theaters, and now, personal homes. The first two U.S. states to require fire sprinkler systems in most new residential construction, California and Pennsylvania, are leading what may become a national trend toward fire safety and prevention in all places where people spend time at risk of fire.

Even if it is not required by law or building code where you live, it is worth considering the installation of a sprinkler system when considering new home construction, for minimal cost addition in ratio to the potential for life savings, and the ability to protect the home and its contents from fire, as well as potential insurance savings by investing in a sprinkler system. Unobtrusive and basically maintenance free, you will only know it is there when you need it.

If an electrical fire breaks out from an overloaded circuit, for example, or some other cause sparks a fire, the fire sprinkler will sense the threat and activate immediately. Generally set so that only the nearest sprinklers will activate in event of fire, the system will limit both the spread of fire and loss of property and threat to life that goes with it, as well as limit the amount of water damage by focusing the spray on the area of the fire only.

As the use of fire sprinkler systems has become more common in hotels and theaters, insurance and government agencies have been able to track the life-saving and money-saving potential of a fire suppression system that activates with the heat of a fire, spraying water on the flames within seconds of sensing the heat from the fire. Rest easier, knowing your loved ones and your investment in your home are guarded by a fire sprinkler system.

You can find me on Twitter via @MikeOnARoof

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