There is nothing more stressful than selling your house, especially selling in the Winter when the roads are slippery, views are blanketed in snow and trees are bare. But not everyone can wait until the spring market when a flurry of homes bombard the market!  For this same reason, this is one advantage of selling in the colder months of the year!


Buyers looking for a property at this time are more serious and tend not to waste time sitting on the fence. They will only view the houses they are serious about.  After all, who wants to spend their days driving around on slippery roads, getting in and out of the cold, removing dirty footwear and bulky jackets?  So if your property is one of the lucky ones that have a showing scheduled, be sure it is up to par. 


Here are some tips to help you sell your house this winter:


1. Clear snow and ice from driveway and walkways around your home - This is the top tip from agents.  This makes the prospective buyers feel comfortable when walking into your property.  It also shows the house is well cared for and maintained, both interior AND exterior. 


2. Make it warm and cozy - It's cold outside.  Make the entrance to your home an inviting one by placing candles near the entrance, maybe a nice wreath on the door and turn up the heat.  Have a mat setup for buyers to place their dirty shoes and then walk onto a nice clean surface.  If you are leaving for the showing and coming back right after, turn on the fireplace for them and have some warm cookies and maybe a hot chocolate dispenser to warm them up during their tour of your home.  This will make them feel more at home and comfortable - something they will never forget!


3. Take advantage of glows from lamp - There is something warm and inviting about looking at a property from a distance in the winter and seeing the yellow glow of a lamp shining through the window.  The yellow glow offers a cozy ambiance that is both calming and warm.  So make sure you keep all those lamps on for the showing.


4. Play soft music in the background - Create an atmosphere by playing soothing classical music or Christmas music very quietly in the background.


5. Make it festive - Greet potential buyers with holiday flowers, scents and set the table for an elegant dinner.  But don't go overboard with the decorations - you don't want it to look tacky!


6. Consider the area - In some areas of the city, winter weather can actually be a selling point! If you live near COP for example, make note of the fact that you are just minutes from skiing at COP or approximately an hour to Banff and Sunshine.


Please feel free to contact me anytime if you have any questions.


By Mona Kapoor



Are you planning a home renovation? Chances are your neighbor is, according to a recent survey by In the next two years, 72 per cent of Canadian homeowners surveyed are planning to decorate or redecorate, 40 per cent are building an addition or remodeling, and another 11 per cent are planning to have a custom home built.


What Do Kitchen & Bath Renovations Cost?

What are Canadian homeowners spending to improve their kitchens and bathrooms? Nationally, Canadians are spending an average of $23,300 Canadian to upgrade their kitchen cabinets, appliances and workspace. Bathrooms are smaller investments, with Canadians investing an average of $9,100 to remodel everything from plumbing fixtures to tile and lighting. Americans are spending an average of $27,000 U.S. on kitchens, and $11,300 on bathrooms.


These averages however don't reflect the regional diversity when it comes to these projects. Calgary residents are investing the most in their kitchens, spending an average of $32,200, while Vancouver homeowners are spending $22,200, almost $10,000 less and slightly below average. Spending outside of major metropolitan areas average $19,500. Montreal homeowners are the biggest spenders on bathrooms, investing $11,500 on average, and Toronto is close behind at $10,500. While big spenders on kitchens, Calgary homeowners are spending the least on their bathrooms, averaging $7,500.


The survey also found that remodeling kitchens and bathrooms are top priority for Canadian homeowners, and also for their American counterparts. In the next two years, 50 per cent of Canadian homeowners on Houzz are planning to remodel their bathrooms, and 48 per cent are renovating a kitchen. This compares favorably to the 33 per cent of homeowners surveyed who remodeled their kitchen in the last five years, and the 40 per cent who remodeled a bathroom.


But Canadian homeowners are approaching their projects differently than homeowners in the U.S.; not just what they spend but also how they get it done.


Popular Projects

While kitchen remodeling and bathroom remodeling are #1 and #2 on Canadian project lists, what other priorities are Canadians planning? In the next two years, Canadians are also planning to take on flooring (44 per cent), replacing windows and doors (32 per cent), living room/family room additions or remodels (31 per cent), and patios and landscapes (31 per cent). These priorities are similar to those in the U.S., though Americans are focusing significantly more on their patio and landscape projects than on living room/family room renovations.

Regionally, Calgary residents surveyed are planning more custom homes and additions, as compared to other Canadians surveyed. 17 per cent built a custom home in the last five years, vs. 12 per cent for all Canadian homeowners on Houzz, and 49 per cent built an addition. 59 per cent of Calgary residents are planning a custom home build or remodel/addition in the next two years, as compared with 46 per cent of homeowners surveyed in Montreal and Toronto

Hands-on or Hiring Help?

Canadian homeowners on Houzz like to take a hands-on approach to their projects, and at a significantly higher rate than their U.S. counterparts. In fact, 76 per cent of Canadian respondents report doing some or all of the work themselves. They do however recognize when they need professional help. In the last five years, 61 per cent of respondents report hiring a general contractor, 50 per cent a carpet or flooring professional, 30 per cent a kitchen and bath professional, 24 percent an interior designer, 21 per cent a landscape professional, and 18 per cent and architect.


Regionally, Montreal residents surveyed are more likely than other Canadians to hire help for their projects, and to go over budget. They are also more likely to hire an architect than other Canadians. Edmonton residents by contrast are the least likely to hire an architect. Fifty-seven per cent of Montreal residents reported going over budget on their most recent remodeling project, a significantly larger group than the 44 per cent average for all Canadian respondents.


New Motivations & Financing Approaches

Most surprising among the survey findings are the motivations behind these projects. Even in the current economy, Canadians are remodeling to please themselves, not the next owner. When asked what is important to them when taking on their next project, 83 per cent of Canadian Houzz users cited improving the look, feel, flow and layout of their home, while only 56 per cent cited home value. Increasing home value, while second priority, is still more important to Canadians than Americans surveyed, only 47 per cent of who cited return on investment as important.


Canadians are still taking a conservative fiscal approach to projects; when it comes to financing, Canadians as a whole are saying "no" to loans -- only 14 per cent are planning to take out a line of credit. But they aren't willing to wait to renovate; 60 per cent say they will cut back on vacations, car purchases or other big-ticket items rather than delay a remodeling project.


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Homeowners who are planning to move up often wrestle with the dilemma: "Should we sell first or buy first?" You'll find plenty of agents advising you to buy before you sell, but that's rarely in your best interest. It's in the agent's best interest because if you buy, you will need to sell, and the agent will be guaranteed two sales, regardless of how much it cost you to do it this way.


If you decide to sell first and then buy but, say, your home doesn't sell or it attracts very low offers that you do not want to accept, the agent will get nothing. Think about it.


Of course, which comes first, the chicken or the egg, depends on the market -- is it a buyer's or a seller's market -- and your personal motivation. However, for most sellers and buyers, the smart thing to do is to sell before you buy.

Reasons to Sell First and Then Buy

  • Ability to Negotiate.

    By selling first, you have the luxury of time. You don't have to take the first offer that comes along because you already have a place to live. It's called your home.

  • Higher Sales Price.

    Sellers who aren't under pressure to sell often obtain higher sales prices because buyers realize the sellers are not desperate. Nothing yells "discount your offer" like a listing that reads: "seller motivated, bought another."

  • Contingent on Concurrent Closing.

    By making the sale of your home contingent on closing concurrently with your new purchase, you have basically said to the buyer, "If I can't find the home I want to buy, I'm under no obligation to sell to you." You don't have to name the property address. You can simply state: "This sale contingent on closing concurrently with the purchase of seller's replacement home."

    In fairness, a smart buyer's agent won't let a buyer sign a contract with a contingency clause like that; however, I get away with inserting that clause because few agents understand its implication.

  • Contingency Period.

    OK, let's say the buyer's agent is smart enough to strike a concurrent closing clause from the contract. The next best thing to ask for is a time period during which you are free to look for a replacement home. A contingency period will give you the right to cancel the contract during that time period if you so choose, which can range, on average, from 7 to 21 days.

  • Renting After Closing.

    Some sellers who want to take their time to find the perfect home, that one-in-a-million, will often opt to rent after closing. If the buyer doesn't require immediate occupancy, the seller might rent back their own home for the amount of the buyer's new mortgage payment. Or the seller might move out, put their belongings into storage and rent a furnished, short-term apartment.

Reasons to Buy First and Then Sell

  • It's a Seller's Market.

    When the number of buyers are many and inventory is reduced, homes generally sell within days of hitting the market. In this instance, there is little risk in buying first and selling second. However, few sellers will accept a contingent offer. Since these sellers will not accept a sale-contingent offer, you could be stuck owning two residences until your home sells. On top of that, you will pay top dollar for your new home, especially if you end up bidding in a multiple offer situation.

  • Deal is Too Good to Wait.

    Sometimes, regardless of the marketplace, a home will come on the market at a price that is too good to pass up. Perhaps the sellers are getting divorced, need to pay medical bills or one of them has a gambling addiction with debts to pay; the point is the sellers are extremely motivated to sell. Before word spreads across town, you might want to be the first offer on the table.

    In this instance, it makes sense to buy before you sell because the money you make walking into the deal is worth making double payments until your home sells. When the deal is that good, pull out all your negotiating tricks.

  • It's Your Dream Home.

    This is an emotional decision. As much as many buyers might want to be logical and analytical, people who let their hearts rule are not. Real estate is an emotional business anyway, so those who fixate on owning a certain type of home may as well buy it when they first spot it. For some, money is no object. Fortunately, these types of buyers rarely look back, but keep their sights set on the horizon, on moving forward, and they don't regret making emotional decisions. They want what they want, and they get what they want.

Whatever you decide, please contact me first!  I can help you decide what is best for your situation!


Looking to purchase some commercial real estate in Canada but unsure where to start? Follow along as we count down Canada’s top investment cities, according to a report by the Real Estate Investment Network.

Factors such as transportation upgrades, rate of increase for regional income, population growth, jobs and RBC Affordability Index Hot Zone (between 25-35%) were all factors in the cities’ ranking.



Data is supplied by Pillar 9™ MLS® System. Pillar 9™ is the owner of the copyright in its MLS®System. Data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by Pillar 9™.
The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.