Wednesday, October 31, 2012

How to Make a New Mirror with Old Door Trim

Primp in front of an attractive, full-length mirror you've made yourself using salvaged door casings.

The entrance halls of Victorian-era houses were often decorated with large pier mirrors in front of which homeowners could primp on their way out for the day. My mom—a serial renovator—had a beautiful gilded version that she carted from one old-house project to the next, always propping it proudly against a foyer wall. For my DIY pier mirror, I used the entablature of an old door casing for the top and preprimed pilasters from a lumberyard for the sides and bottom. White paint unifies the old wood with the new. Here’s the step-by-step:

Step 1: test the Fit
Lay a pre-cut mirror on a plywood backer board, and test-fit the frame around it. Use plinth blocks for the bottom joints and a 2x4 at the top on which to steady the entablature.

Step 2: Build the frame
Next, set the mirror and backer board aside, and join the pilasters to the plinths by driving in 1 ½-inch self-tapping washer head screws on the diagonal along the backs of the wood members. (Use a pocket hole jig—sold at woodworker supply shops—to bore the holes.) Attach the 2x4 top directly to the pilaster’s ends in the same manner.

Step 3: Attach the plywood back
Apply construction adhesive to the back of the frame and attach the plywood backer board.

Step 4: Secure with screws and nails
Reinforce the glue's bond by driving in 1-inch finish screws at the four corners. Then, tap in a steel tack every five inches or so along the top, sides and bottom.

Step 5: Affix the entablature
Flip the frame faceup, and use the construction adhesive to affix the decorative entablature to the 2x4 top. Secure the entablature with clamps.

I am the GUY that will make a difference!

I specialize in selling homes in the in the Okanagan Valley including Westbank, West Kelowna, Peachland with a focus on Rose Valley, Lakeview Heights, West Kelowna Estates and Shannon Lake.

Karen Guy, REALTOR® Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty
C 250.878.3605 O 250.768.8001

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Preparing for your Open House

First impressions count when selling your home - especially during an Open House. Your REALTOR® will help you prepare for your open house by suggesting many ways you can present your home in its best light and increase its saleability factor.
An open house is just one aspect of an effective marketing plan your REALTOR® will develop to sell your home and one of the many services a REALTOR® provides.
Tips and advice on how to get to your house ready for sale are also part of a REALTOR®’s expertise.
He or she will advise you about things like de-cluttering and de-personalizing your home as well as minor improvements such as painting and rearranging furniture. Obviously, you will want to ensure your home is squeaky clean for your open house and there are other simple touches that can make your home even more appealing.
Fresh flowers are an easy way to give your home a cheery and well-looked-after feeling. Invest in enough flowers to place one large bouquet for impact either in the foyer or the living room and a few smaller ones throughout the house. The scent of fresh-brewed coffee, home-made bread or cookies can also be very welcoming. See the list below for more Open House preparation tips.
REALTOR® Open House
Your REALTOR® may suggest you first hold an open house for REALTORS®. Other REALTORS® are already working with buyers who may be interested in your property and will inspect your home with their buyers in mind. An open house for REALTORS is also more convenient for you, eliminating many of the single inspections that would be otherwise necessary.

Your REALTOR® will likely recommend you hold at least one or more open houses for the general public as well. This type of open house tends to attract many browsers. But if your home is clean, attractive, in good repair and well-priced, it may just turn a "browser" into a buyer. Also, many purchasers want to get the 'feel' of several neighborhoods before they begin working with a REALTOR®. An open house often attracts these buyers.
Chances are your open house for the public will be held on a Saturday or Sunday since that's when most people are likely to have free time for cruising around the neighborhoods they are interested in.
Although you may be curious, it's a good idea for you and your family to leave the home during an open house. Your presence could be distracting and potential buyers may rush their visit to avoid disturbing you. They may be hesitant to comment on your home while you're there and, generally, feel more relaxed if the owner is not present.
Your REALTOR® may also suggest you temporarily remove your dog, cat or other family pets from the property since their presence could also be distracting.
Here are some tips to help ensure a successful Open House:
  • Remove or lock away valuables such as jewelry, cameras, compact discs, valuable coins and currency;
  • Attend to potential hazards - electrical wires crossing open areas, sharp table or counter top corners, slippery stairs and walkways, fragile items that can be easily damaged;
  • In poor weather, provide a place at the front door for overshoes, boots, umbrellas, and coats;
  • Avoid cooking food that would leave strong odors behind;
  • A warm fire on a cold day can be a nice touch, but ask your REALTOR® first since he or she will have to tend to the fire in your absence.

Spruce it up!
Often the smallest defect can be a turn-off to some potential buyers. Use this handy check list to assess what needs cleaning, mending, or changing before the big day:
Floor Coverings
(Includes carpeting, tile, linoleum, hardwood, etc.)
  • Dirty or stained?
  • Worn or damaged?
  • Is there hardwood under carpeting that can be restored?
  • Walls, ceilings, baseboards:
    • Any fingerprints or stains?
    • Any holes, nails, tape residue?
    • Are they all neutral or complimentary colors?
  • Do they squeak?
  • Are the handles secure and working properly?
  • Any stains or other damage?
  • Windows:
    • Are they clean and crack free?
    • Do they open easily?
    • Are the coverings clean and also easy to open?
  • Is there sufficient light?
  • Any broken switches; exposed wiring?
Pet Areas
  • Are these clean, organized and odor free?
Kitchen and Bathrooms
  • Are countertops organized?
  • Are all sinks and faucets working properly?
Other Rooms
  • Have all areas been thoroughly vacuumed and dusted?
  • Has all clutter, including excess furniture, been collected and removed?
  • Are books, toys, clothes all neatly stored?
  • Do mirrors look clean?
  • Are window coverings open?
Outside the home
  • Are all exterior surfaces, including decks, pools, walkways and driveways clean, clear of clutter and in good condition?
  • Do fence and other gates open easily?
  • Are the lawns mowed, walkways clear of snow, leaves removed, trees pruned, garden weeded, hedges trimmed?
I am the GUY that will make a difference!

I specialize in selling homes in the in the Okanagan Valley including Westbank, West Kelowna, Peachland with a focus on Rose Valley, Lakeview Heights, West Kelowna Estates and Shannon Lake.

Karen Guy, REALTOR® Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty
C 250.878.3605 O 250.768.8001

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Use a REALTOR® or Do It Alone?

Do you really need a REALTOR® when you sell your home, or can you do it yourself?

Selling a home is one of the biggest financial transactions most of us will ever make. REALTOR®S have the qualifications and experience to help make that transaction as smooth and painless as possible. Handling a real estate transaction on your own can be like trying to repair your own car; you may have all the right parts and tools, but unless you have the skill of a professional, you may end up making a very costly mistake.

Most people who buy and sell their homes do enlist the services of a REALTOR®. Those who go the "do it yourself' route often wind up changing their minds and contacting a REALTOR® when they discover the process is more complex, time-consuming and intimidating than they thought.

Saving money?
The main reason people attempt to sell their own homes is to save on the real estate commission. But will you really save money if you sell your home yourself? Maybe not. Most buyers expect a discount from the Seller because you aren't paying a real estate commission and, as a result, may offer you less than fair market value for your home. Determining the fair market value is one area requiring a REALTORS® extensive knowledge and training. If you set your price too high, you may frighten off potential buyers; set it too low and you could lose thousands of dollars needlessly. One of your REALTORS® most important tasks will be to help you decide upon a realistic market value for your home; one that will enable you to sell it quickly and for the best possible price.

Getting exposure
Through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS®), your REALTOR® will ensure your home gets maximum exposure to other REALTORS® and their potential buyers. This is just one of the many ways a REALTOR® will market your home. He or she may also advertise in newspapers, on television and/or on the Internet. Your marketing plan may also include open houses just for other REALTORS® and also for the public. A REALTOR® will work with you to develop a marketing plan that meets your needs.

Time commitment
Do you really have the time it takes to sell your home? A REALTOR® will write and pay for the ads to market your home, remain available day and night for calls from prospects, host open houses on the weekends, show your property on short notice, screen potential buyers, fill out all the paperwork, handle the negotiations and do the dozens of other things required to sell a home. When you consider the amount of time invested, are you really saving any money by going it alone?

Negotiating skills
Many homeowners lack the skill to negotiate the best price for their home. Selling your home can be a highly emotional experience, making it almost impossible to remain neutral when potential buyers make negative comments about the property. A REALTOR® is a skilled negotiator who can remain impartial during the negotiations - a job that allows you to keep your stress levels to a minimum.

Use a REALTOR® to sell your home
When you consider all the services they provide - marketing, negotiating, dealing with contracts and legal issues - it pays to have a REALTOR® on your side. Working with a REALTOR®  - a licensed real estate professional who is a member of his or her local real estate Board and the British Columbia Real Estate Association - entitles you to access a vast array of services and benefits you will not get when you "do it yourself'.

Multiple Listing Service, MLS®, REALTOR® and REALTORS® are registered trademarks of the Canadian Real Estate Association. REALTOR® identifies a real estate practitioner who is a member of the Association.

I am the GUY that will make a difference!

I specialize in selling homes in the in the Okanagan Valley including Westbank, West Kelowna, Peachland with a focus on Rose Valley, Lakeview Heights, West Kelowna Estates and Shannon Lake.

Karen Guy, REALTOR® Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty

C 250.878.3605 O 250.768.8001

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Real Estate Listing: More Than Just an Ad in the Paper!

Are you thinking of selling your home? If so, you will need professional help to ensure your home gets maximum exposure and is well-marketed. You will want to enlist the services of a real estate professional to make sure you achieve your goals.

The listing is the beginning of a selling process that includes a well-thought-out and detailed marketing plan, accessibility to a wide range of potential buyers and commitments to professional service. It also means you will receive friendly, helpful advice throughout the sale of your home.

Technically speaking, a listing is an authority granted by you to a real estate broker to act as your agent in offering your property for sale or lease - according to the terms and conditions set out in the listing contract.

When you list your home with a real estate broker, you are entering into a binding agreement with that firm, so it is important to choose a company and a real estate salesperson that you are satisfied with. To find the right firm and individual, try interviewing three REALTORS® and ask them about the services they will offer when they list your home.

What you can expect

Your REALTOR® will conduct a thorough inspection of your property to help determine what your home's market value is. He or she will take accurate measurements along with a detailed description of the property.

You will be asked for documentation on taxes, surveys, title deed and mortgage information. As well, it is important for the salesperson to know if there are any limitations on the property which might affect its values - limitations such as rights-of-way.

The REALTOR® will also ask you questions to get a better idea of your sales circumstances (whether you are pressed for time or not) and what your expectations are.

For instance, you may have no pressing need to sell your home and are willing to wait a year until the right offer comes in. On the other hand, if you are being transferred to another job, you will have more time constraints. These are things your REALTOR® should know so that he or she can recommend a marketing approach that best suits your needs.

The real estate professional also needs to do a market value comparison (aka Comparitive Market Analysis) to see what similar homes in the area are selling for. You will also decide how long the listing will be for and whether it will be put on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS®).

Use of MLS® gives your home maximum exposure in today's marketplace because it offers the REALTOR® the opportunity to use the facilities and services of other REALTORS® through a system operated by the local real estate Board. Only REALTORS® (members of the British Columbia Real Estate Association and local real estate Boards) have access to MLS®.

Understanding Value and Price

Before listing your home, you should understand that there is a difference between the market value of your property and the price you ask for. Often, the two are not the same.

For instance, a REALTOR® may estimate the market value of your home to be $420,000 but suggest you list below that amount if you are under pressure to sell. On the other hand, if you are not pressed for time, your REALTOR® may advise you to list it slightly above market value.


One of the most important steps in listing property is for the REALTOR® to develop a good working relationship with you. At this stage, you, the broker and the salesperson are forming a team for the purpose of selling your home.

As an owner you will be responsible for trying to assist in the marketing of your property where possible - without actually becoming physically involved in showings.

The REALTOR® will tell you about preparing the house (sometimes called "staging"), arranging showings or open houses and what is involved in an offer to purchase.

Scouting for buyers

Once the listing is complete, the REALTOR® will check his or her contact lists and begin trying to pinpoint and pre-qualify potential purchasers for your home. This way, you avoid an endless parade of unqualified viewers through your house.

If an Offer to Purchase is presented while the listing is in force, and you accept it, you then owe the real estate broker a commission for having used its services as per the clause in the Listing Agreement which obligates you to pay a commission to the listing broker.


I am the GUY that will make a difference!

I specialize in selling homes in the in the Okanagan Valley including Westbank, West Kelowna, Peachland with a focus on Rose Valley, Lakeview Heights, West Kelowna Estates and Shannon Lake.

Karen Guy, REALTOR®
Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty

C 250.878.3605 O 250.768.8001

Friday, October 5, 2012

Turn that shed or outbuilding into a real estate asset

Many homeowners look to their backyard sheds solely as a storage space to house tools, gardening instruments, and a variety of old items that are no longer in use. However, as any Coldwell Banker® real estate professional can tell you, a shed or other outbuilding can be a valuable and useful piece of real estate and a creative extension of one's home if individuals take the time to fix it up.
So before hauling old boxes and clothing bags into a shed and forgetting about them, consider other ways to make it a functional space.

Home office

Working at home can be distracting when there are chores to be done or children have friends over. However, converting an outdoor shed into a quaint office space can give individuals the quiet and privacy they need to work, research, read and complete projects.  Winterizing a small room such as a shed with insulation and a heating source can be a cost effective way to add valuable living space to your home. Many sheds are already equipped with lights and outlets, so adding tables, filing cabinets and office decor is the only task left for workers who want to create a space that is all their own.

Children's playroom

Homeowners who lack the space to accommodate piles of toys, children's books and activity stations should consider using their shed as an outdoor playhouse. Painting the shed bright colours, hanging fun pictures, setting up a small snack bar and refrigerator and moving toys to the shed can create an exciting treehouse effect for young children. This can also be a great place to host birthday parties, camping trips, play dates and children's sleepovers.

Spare bedroom

Homeowners with a large shed may consider converting it into a small bedroom space, especially if it's already equipped with windows and outlets. This can be a good place for guests or adult children to stay when homeowners lack the indoor space.

Of course, these are just a few of the potential uses for a shed or outbuilding.  The list could also include screened in sitting area to enjoy a bug-free evening, a cabana change room for your swimming pool or a studio/hobby room to retreat to as you indulge in your favourite pastime.
For more helpful advice on how to maximize your enjoyment of your home, and for insights on how improvements may add to home’s future resale value, contact your local Coldwell Banker sales representative.  We’re always glad to talk real estate! 

I am the GUY that will make the difference!

I specialize in selling homes in the in the Okanagan Valley including Westbank, West Kelowna, Peachland with a focus on Rose Valley, Lakeview Heights, West Kelowna Estates and Shannon Lake.

Karen Guy, REALTOR®
Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty

 C 250.878.3605 O 250.768.8001

Kelowna Real Estate Agent West Kelowna Karen Guy Realtor