Mike & Bernadine Nielsen

Mike: 604-315-3151 |

Bernadine: 604-619-2063 |

10 Reasons to List Your Home This Month Is selling your property the furthest thing from your mind? Well, here are some reasons for listing your property that you might not have considered. 1. Your property may be worth more than you think. (It’s difficult to determine market value on your own. I can calculate it for you. Give me a call.) 2. You might qualify for a better home than you anticipate. 3. Perhaps you are tired of your current property and want a change. 4. There may be homes on the market in a neighbourhood in which you’ve always wanted to live. 5. Your current property may no longer meet your needs. 6. Your neighbourhood may have changed in ways you don’t like. 7. You might be ready to downsize or upsize and you no longer want to put that off. 8. You may want to sell in the fall, so you can have a fresh start in a new home in the new year. 9. Depending on the type of home you’re considering, you could end up with lower mortgage payments or no mortgage at all. 10.You might want to move to a home that’s more conveniently located near work, family and hobbies. Of course, you may have your own reasons for listing this month. Why not discuss them with a real estate expert? Me. I can answer your questions and explain the options available to you.
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BBQ Safety Tips You Should Know According to a recent study, the average homeowner pays more attention to kitchen stove safety than they do BBQ safety. But, the fact is, a BBQ mishap can be just as devastating. So, it pays to know the latest safety tips. • Keep BBQs at least 8 feet away from your house. • Check for venture tube blockages regularly. (Spiders are notorious for spinning webs in there.) • Clean the grill frequently to prevent flare ups. A grease fire on the grill can continue burning even after you’ve turned the BBQ off. • Don’t position your BBQ close to foliage, such as under a tree or next to shrubs. • Never BBQ in an enclosed area, such as a garage, even if the space is well ventilated. • Avoid leaving the grill unattended, especially when cooking greasy foods such as sausages, beef burgers or steaks. • Do not let children BBQ. Finally, make sure your BBQ is turned completely off after use. It’s a good idea to double-check this when making the rounds and locking up your home for the night. Experts say you should treat a BBQ as you would a camp fire — with care.
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3 Reasons to Talk to a Realtor Today You might naturally assume that it is most important to talk to a Realtor when you’re selling or buying a home. But there are many other circumstances in which it makes sense to give me a call. Here are a few examples. 1. When you’re at the “thinking about it” stage If you’re just thinking about selling your home, and haven’t made a firm decision yet, you might feel uncomfortable calling a Realtor. Don’t be. In fact, I welcome your call. We can discuss what your current property will likely sell for on today’s market, and determine the type of home you qualify to buy. That way, you’ll have some clarity and be able to make a more informed decision. 2. If you’re nervous about the selling process If you haven’t sold a home before, you might be concerned about what’s involved in the process. You might even worry that putting your home on the market is going to be a lot of work and create a lot of turbulence for you and your family. Fortunately, selling your home doesn’t need to be scary. In fact, a big part of my job as a Realtor is to make the process as smooth and trouble-free as possible. So if you have concerns about selling your home, you should give me a call. 3. If you have questions You likely have questions about the local real estate scene from time to time. You might have questions like: “How much did that home around the corner sell for?”; “Is now a good time to make a move, or should I wait until the market changes?”; and, “How much is my current home worth?” When you have questions like those, you don’t need to dig for answers on your own. You can give me a call. As an expert in the local market, I can give you the answers you need.
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This Simple Question Can Save You a Lot of Money Imagine this scenario... You purchase a new home and move in. A few weeks later, you hear a strange rumbling sound. It’s the furnace. It’s only a year old, yet it’s sputtering like it’s twenty. You realize you’ll have to call in an HVAC contractor to get it fixed. You’re thinking, “Ouch! This is going to be expensive.” Well, maybe not. You see, since that furnace is relatively new, it might be covered by its original warranty — even for you, the new owner. But a warranty is useless if you don’t know it exists. Recent studies suggest that upwards of 50% of people pay to get items fixed that were actually covered by a warranty. So, when purchasing a new home, be sure to ask this simple question: “What warranties do you have for items, materials or workmanship in this house?” Warranties are common on new stoves, fridges, washers, dryers and other big ticket appliances. Some such warranties are transferrable, which means they are still in force when the items pass from one owner to another. Even less expensive items, such as electronic thermostats and automatic garage door openers, may be covered by a transferrable manufacturer’s warranty. If the home you’re purchasing is relatively new (say, less than 10 years old), the builder’s warranty may also still be in force. That can be handy if a structural problem arises. Even recent renovations, may have come with a labour and/or installation warranty of some kind. As you can see, warranties are everywhere! The more you’re aware of them, the more you’ll save when something needs repair or replacement.
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What Do Interior Designers Do? If you want to transform a room into something that’s functional, beautiful and perfectly matched to your taste, then you might want to hire an interior designer. It’s an interior designer’s job to come up with imaginative ideas that will wow you. It’s a myth that interior designers just deal with paint colours, décor and furnishings. In fact, according to the Interior Designers Institute, these professionals have the training needed to handle all aspects of a renovation or remodeling project, including selecting and managing contractors. They can direct a project from beginning to end. If you want to renovate your basement into a stunning home theatre and gathering place, an interior designer can: • Draw out several concepts for you to choose from, • Purchase the best building materials, • Hire the contractors, and • Manage the project. He or she can even pick out classic movie pictures for the walls! There are many professional associations that have “Find an Interior Designer” links on their websites. In the U.S. check out the Professional Association for Interior Designers (www.asid.org). In Canada, it’s the Interior Designers of Canada www.idcanada.org
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"Failure doesn't mean you're a failure, it just means you haven't succeeded yet," says Robert Schuller who popularized “Possibility Thinking”.
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No Homes for Sale in the Area You Like? Here’s What to Do... Imagine there’s a neighbourhood you’d love to live in someday, but, every time you drive through, you rarely, if ever, see a For Sale sign. It’s as if homes get gobbled up by buyers the moment they get listed. It’s true, properties do tend to sell quickly in desirable, in-demand neighbourhoods. Does that mean you’re destined to either hope for a lucky break or miss out on ever living there? Fortunately, no. There are practical things you can do to increase your chances of getting into that neighbourhood. Your first step is to find out the kind of new home you can afford. You want to get your financial ducks in a row so when a listing does come up in the area, you’re able to respond quickly. Find out the average price range of homes in the neighbourhood. Then, if necessary, talk to your lender or mortgage broker. The second step is to get your current property ready for sale. You don’t necessary need to list it now, but you want to be in a position to do so quickly, if necessary. You may need to clean up and declutter, get repairs done, and spruce up your home in other ways. The third step is to talk to me. You see, listings in popular neighbourhoods often move fast. By the time you see them advertised on the internet, they may be gone. I can closely monitor listings in that area for you, so the moment one comes up that meets your criteria, you can be alerted. This greatly increases your chances of getting that home. So if there is a dream neighbourhood you’d love to get into, give me a call.
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Painting Techniques that Bring a Hallway to Life Some people don’t give hallways much thought when painting and decorating. Instead, they focus on rooms. The fact is, a great looking hallway can have the same, if not more, impact than the most eye-catching family room or bedroom, especially when you need to go through the hallway to get there! Here are some painting tips that can bring a dull hallway to life: • Paint the hallway the reverse of the rooms around it. If the rooms are dark, use light colours in the hall. If the rooms feature simple colours, consider being more dramatic in your choice of hallway paint. • In a longer hallway, using two shades of the same colour on perpendicular walls can make the space seem less tunnel-like. (The darker shade goes on the shorter walls.) • Darker colours can work well if the space is well-lit and there are few, if any, shadows cast. • If you decide to paint the halls white, select an off-white or eggshell white. Avoid stark white as it will reflect light in a way that’s unpleasant. One more tip: Pictures can go a long way in making a hallway look inviting, regardless of the wall colour. Good luck with the painting!
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Going “Green” in Your Garden or Flower Bed There has been a lot of emphasis lately on the importance of “going green”. That simply means being environmentally-responsible. You likely already recycle, use energy-efficient lights, and turn down your thermostat when no one is home. Yet, most of us don’t think about the garden or flower bed when we “think green”. We should. Here are a few practical things you can do to tend to outdoor plants — without negatively impacting the environment. • Pull weeds instead of using a weed killer. • Avoid strong pesticides. (Products that target only one or two types of insects tend to be less harsh.) • Don’t use flower bed ornaments (i.e. gnomes) that might bleed colour dye into the soil. (Ask your garden centre before you buy.) • Be careful not to leave hand spades, trowels, and other garden tools lying around, especially over winter. They can rust, which contaminates the soil. These tips may seem minor, but if you want to be environmentally conscious, every little bit helps!
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Does Your Home Insurance Cover Everything? When you suffer damage to, (or the loss of), your home or its contents, you expect your insurance company to help you out. And, most do a good job of doing just that. Still, it’s a good idea to review your policy with your insurance advisor and find out what’s covered and what isn’t. You don’t want to discover that your policy will not cover the cost of repairing the damage caused by a flood in your laundry room. Pay particular attention to coverage in the case of water damage. Some insurance policies don’t cover floods and sewer backup unless an additional rider is purchased. Also, check liability limits. Ask your advisor to recommend an appropriate level. Finally, make sure you know exactly how much your home is insured for. Are you covered for the full replacement cost? Are you comfortable with that coverage or the actual cash value? Having the right insurance gives you peace-of-mind and is an important part of enjoying your home. Keep in mind that experts advise you to review your insurance with your advisor. Ask lots of questions. Make sure you understand your coverage fully. By the way, if you’re looking for an insurance advisor, I’m well-connected in the local “home” industry. I may be able to give you a couple of names of good, reputable professionals. Give me a call
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The Magic of Decorative Moulding Decorative moulding is one of the most eye-catching ways to upgrade a room. You’re probably accustomed to seeing standard baseboard moulding installed where your floor meets the wall. But, there are many other types. For example: • Crown moulding for ceilings. • Panel moulding for a southern colonial look. • Chair rail moulding, which is very distinctive on walls. • Apron moulding for window sills. • Entablature moulding for above doorways. Decorative moulding comes in a dizzying array of styles. Interior designers recommend taking home samples, just as you would take paint swatches, to test out ideas. In addition to style choices, you also need to select the material you prefer. Moulding can be made of wood, plaster, laminate, composite, fiberboard, vinyl and other materials. There are pros and cons to each. Generally, the higher-priced options are more attractive and durable. (If you select wood, you typically have the additional option of “finished or unfinished”. If you choose unfinished, you of course, will be painting it yourself.) Choosing the right moulding for the look you want is the toughest part of the job. Installation is a lot easier and most people with DIY experience have no problems. So if you want to add some magic to your walls, consider decorative moulding. It can turn a room from standard to stunning.
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How to Cut Your Electricity Bill in Half You don’t have to freeze in the winter or start reading by candlelight to reduce your electricity bill. There are many simple ways to use less power with little, if any, impact on your lifestyle. A good place to start is with your electronics. According to the David Suzuki Foundation, “Any gizmo that has a clock, digital timer, remote control or standby mode is sucking energy when it's not being used (it's called 'phantom electricity' — and it's scary how much of it there is).” So keep them unplugged as much as possible. Also, unplug charger cords for phone and computers when not in use. Even when not connected to the device, they still suck power. Another easy change to make involves your lights. Switching to compact fluorescent (CFL) or LED light bulbs can save you a lot of energy. They’re 75% more efficient. Finally, the old-fashioned method of insulating doors and windows can work wonders for lowering your electricity bill. In fact, some particularly drafty homes can lose up to 40% of their heat. Check for drafts regularly and repair or replace insulation as needed. None of these ideas will impact your day-to-day living. Yet, they could potentially save you a bundle.
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Are You Ready to Buy Up? No matter how much you love your current property, you may be dreaming of the day you can buy up into a better home in a better neighbourhood. Is that day today, or, is it a few years down the road? Here’s a quick way to make that assessment. First, make a list of all the practical reasons why it might be time to move up. Those reasons might include features such as: more bedrooms, proximity to work and school, a larger backyard with trees, nearby parks and walking paths and better access to things you enjoy like theatre. Next, make a list of the emotional reasons for making such a move. Those reasons might include memorable get-togethers with friends on a more spacious deck, an easier and less stressful commute to work, more family time with the kids and enjoyable Saturday golf at a nearby course. Finally, take a financial snapshot to determine if you can afford to move up. You’ll need to get a good idea of what your current property will sell for in today’s market, average price of homes in your desired neighbourhood, and how much mortgage you’ll need. Once you have all that down on paper, you’ll have a clear picture of your readiness. If the practical and emotional reasons for buying up are compelling, and you can afford to make the move, then you have your answer. The time is now! By the way, if you need help in making this determination – especially figuring out what your home will likely sell for, call today
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How to Watch Out for Poisons in Your Home According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 90% of exposures to poisons occur inside the home. Almost all are preventable, if you follow some simple guidelines. • Look for the poison label on products you buy. Visually, it’s a skull and cross bones, often (but not always) with the word POISON above it. • Don’t make assumptions. Sometimes a seemingly innocuous product, like a shampoo, can contain poison or other ingredients which are harmful if swallowed. • Avoid mixing different cleaning products together. When chemicals are combined, they change. Combining some cleaning products can even create toxic fumes. • Keep all medication, even the non-prescription kind, out of reach of children. Never leave medicine on the bathroom counter. • Never use pesticides inside the home unless the product is clearly labeled for indoor use. Then, use only as directed. • Never use a charcoal grill or barbeque indoors, no matter how well ventilated you think you’ve made it. Doing so can easily cause carbon monoxide poisoning. One final tip. Pay attention to the expiry date of products, especially cosmetics and cleaning liquids. As chemicals age, they change and can emit harmful fumes.
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Knock, Knock. How to Avoid Door-to-Door Scams It’s early in the evening and there’s a knock on the door. You answer and are greeted by an official-looking man who claims he needs to see your utility bill to confirm you’re getting your energy rebate. Do you let him in? While he may be legitimate, he may also be using deception to sell you something you don’t want. Here are some suggestions for finding out: • Ask for a business card. Then, check if it has an address, phone number and website. If the salesperson refuses or just shows you his ID card (which anyone can fake), that’s a red flag. • Ask for the name of his employer. Sometimes salespeople will say they “represent the phone company”. That doesn’t mean they actually work for it. • Ask if you can call his company to confirm details before buying. If he refuses, or says the office is closed, shut the door. • Ask if you can consider the offer and call the office the next day to place your order. • If you’re really suspicious, ask him to come back later. Then, call the non-emergency police number. Police are aware of common scams in the area. Most importantly, use your common sense. Door-to-door salespeople can be pretty persuasive, but if something doesn’t seem right to you, trust your gut. Say, “No thanks.” Of course, if everything checks out with the salesperson, and the offer is a good one, consider taking advantage of it.
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Should You Worry About Moisture on Windows? You’re standing by your window admiring the view. Then you notice it. Moisture has built-up around the edges of the glass. Should you worry? It all depends on the reason for the build up. Assuming you have traditional double-pane glass in your windows, there are a few things to look for if you notice moisture. Often, moisture at the bottom of the windows is simply caused by too much humidity in your indoor air. If that’s the case, simply adjust your humidifier. If the moisture is on the exterior of the window, typically there’s also no problem with the window itself. It may have rained recently or the outside humidity may have spiked causing the accumulation. Generally, there’s no reason for concern. However, if the moisture is in between the two panes of glass, the seal has broken and surrounding air – along with its water content – has made its way in. This disrupts the thermal barrier of the window, reducing its energy efficiency. In fact, the glass might feel noticeably colder than your other windows on chilly days. In that case, you’ll need to replace the pane. Similarly, if the moisture is coming in through only one spot — the bottom right corner, for example — then you might have a leak. If you have a wood frame or sill, you may also notice a growing water stain. It’s important to get leaks fixed quickly. There may be water damage occurring within the frame that you cannot see.
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Creating a Pantry, when You Don’t Have One! A pantry is the ideal nook for storing extra food and other items ordinarily crammed into the kitchen. It’s also a nice design feature, as it harkens back to the days of country kitchens with spacious pantries. You might be thinking, “That’s nice, but our home doesn’t have a pantry.” That’s okay. These days, there are many ways to create a pantry in your home – even if it doesn’t have one! Here are just a few suggestions: • Add shelves to the laundry room. If you have the space, this is the ideal place to create a mini-pantry. • Purchase a portable pantry. There are many available on the market. Some are even disguised as cabinets you’d expect to see in living and dining rooms. • Purchase a movable pantry. These units are on wheels and can slide in and out of the kitchen with ease. Some are short enough to slide conveniently under a kitchen table. • Make use of an unused closet. These are rare in most homes, but if you have a closet that isn’t being used, it can easily be converted into a pantry. As you can see, there are plenty of options available. You don’t necessarily need to build an extra room!
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Creating a Pantry, when You Don’t Have One! A pantry is the ideal nook for storing extra food and other items ordinarily crammed into the kitchen. It’s also a nice design feature, as it harkens back to the days of country kitchens with spacious pantries. You might be thinking, “That’s nice, but our home doesn’t have a pantry.” That’s okay. These days, there are many ways to create a pantry in your home – even if it doesn’t have one! Here are just a few suggestions: • Add shelves to the laundry room. If you have the space, this is the ideal place to create a mini-pantry. • Purchase a portable pantry. There are many available on the market. Some are even disguised as cabinets you’d expect to see in living and dining rooms. • Purchase a movable pantry. These units are on wheels and can slide in and out of the kitchen with ease. Some are short enough to slide conveniently under a kitchen table. • Make use of an unused closet. These are rare in most homes, but if you have a closet that isn’t being used, it can easily be converted into a pantry. As you can see, there are plenty of options available. You don’t necessarily need to build an extra room!
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Should You Own a Fire Extinguisher? You’ve seen fire extinguishers in commercial environments, such as schools, stores and workplaces. Does it make sense to have one in your home? According to the experts, yes. In fact, a fire extinguisher can quickly put out a blaze that would otherwise quickly grow out of control. There are several types of fire extinguishers that are made especially for residential use. That means they put out the most common fires that occur in the home (Class A, B & K fires), and they are easy to handle and use. Since most residential fires happen in the kitchen, that’s the best place to keep your extinguisher. Make sure everyone in your household knows where it is and how to use it. Keep in mind that a home fire extinguisher is meant for small fires that are easy to put out, such as a pan of vegetable oil igniting on the stove. If you find you can’t control the blaze within a few seconds with the extinguisher, get everyone out of the home and call the fire department. Also, never attempt to fight a major fire yourself. Leave that to the professionals.
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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.