Mike & Bernadine Nielsen

Mike: 604-315-3151 |

Bernadine: 604-619-3150 |

The Latest Options in Outdoor Lighting Outdoor lighting has come a long way from the days of patio lanterns and strings of lightbulbs. These days, there's an exhaustive array of options available to illuminate your outdoor space, and make it more appealing and comfortable, particularly in the evenings. Here are just a few ideas: • Solar garden lights. These lights are on stakes that can be easily inserted throughout the garden. Powered by the sun, they generate enough energy to cast a soft, pleasant glow along walkways or in flower beds in the evenings. • Deck post lights. These are easy to install because they're designed to sit on top of a standard 4x4 wood deck post. Most are solar powered. • Street-style lamps. As the name implies, these look similar to oldfashioned street lamps. Installation is a little more complex, but still DIY-friendly. They're eye-catching and have a dramatic impact on the look of your outdoor space. • Portable lantern lights. These are outdoor lights that are portable and often made to look like a decorative fixture for a coffee table or side table. They can be placed anywhere. • LED walkway lights. These are small lights that fit neatly and almost invisibly under stairs and around walkways. Walkway lights not only look good but also improve safety. Most are battery powered. • Planter lights. This is one of the most interesting options. Each one is both a flower pot and a light in one! The pot itself is translucent which allows the light inside to shine through. Design experts say you should treat your outdoor space as you would any room in your home. Lighting it up for evening comfort and enjoyment is a good place to start.
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One Hour Ideas for Boosting Curb Appeal You've heard of the term "curb appeal". It refers to the initial impression buyers get when they first see your property from the street. If the impression is a good one, it sets the right tone for the rest of the home viewing. How do you boost curb appeal? Here are some proven ideas that you can get done in an hour or so: • Wash both the inside and outside of the front windows. You'll be amazed at the difference that can make. • Sweep the walkway leading up to the front entrance. Add a new welcome mat. Also, wash down the front door. • If possible, remove cars from the driveway. Let buyers imagine their own cars parked there! • Mow the lawn. Lightly trim the hedges. Weed flower beds. • Remove anything from inside window sills that may look unsightly from the outside. Try putting a couple of flowering plants there instead. • Place any trash bins out-of-sight. For example, put them in the garage or neatly at the side of the house. • If the entrance door hardware is old and worn, change it. New hardware can make a bigger difference than you might think. • Make sure the outdoor lights are working, especially if you're showing your home in the evening. • Add some flowering plants to flower beds, or buy a couple of portable potted plants and place them strategically. • Clean your mailbox. If it’s rusted, replace it. • If you have a power washer, give the walkway and driveway a quick blast. Just be sure it will be dry before the buyers arrive. These one-hour improvements may seem minor, but anything that helps buyers form a more positive first impression of your home is worth the effort.
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Setting Your List Price Requires Calculation and Savvy When you're having a garage sale, one of the toughest tasks is pricing your items. If you put a price tag on your old golf clubs that’s too high, no one will buy them. If you make the price too low, they might sell quickly, but you’ll spend the rest of the day wondering if you could have gotten more! It's similar to selling your home — except with your home, the stakes are much higher. You want to price your property to sell, but you don’t want to leave any money on the table. How do you accomplish that? Setting the right list price for your home requires a combination of skilled calculation and industry savvy. Let's start with the "calculation" part... When you work with me, I'll review recently sold properties that are similar to yours in type, size, features and location. Then, using that data, we’ll calculate a range that represents your property's "current market value." For example, consider a spacious 15-year-old bungalow in a nice neighbourhood. If similar homes in the area have sold for $475,000- $550,000 in the last six months, then it's obvious that your home should sell in that range too. A list price above or below that range would be in the danger zone. But skilled calculation is only half the task. Setting your list price also requires expertise in the local market, combined with good old-fashioned gut instinct. That instinct comes from being on the front lines of many property transactions. That's why working with a good real estate salesperson is so important, when you’re deciding on the list price for your home. Want to discuss selling your home? Call me.
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BBQ Maintenance that Will Save Your Life According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), more than 160 people are injured each year in BBQ mishaps. That doesn't sound like a lot considering the thousands of people who flip burgers on their backyard grills each year. But, you certainly don't want to be one of those injured! The best way to prevent fire and injury is maintenance. Remarkably, few people are even aware that BBQ maintenance is necessary. But, it is. Every spring, experts say you should clean out the venturi tubes. Those are the little metal pipes that carry propane or natural gas. Pipe cleaners work well, although hardware stores also carry specialized tools for this purpose. The goal is to clean out any builtup dirt and debris. Don't be surprised if you find spider webs inside a venturi tube! Your BBQ grills should also be cleaned with soap and water each year. Just scraping them before barbequing isn’t enough. Fat and oils from cooking can build up on grills and harden. If you're getting a lot of flare-ups, this may be the cause. Finally, make sure nuts and bolts are tightened regularly, and replace any rusty hardware. Regular use, heat and weather can loosen or weaken bolts, particularly on the frame. Several fires each year are caused by BBQs tipping over or collapsing.
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5 Ways to Make the Selling Process Stress-Free For some homeowners, the process of listing, showing and selling their home can be stressful. Fortunately, there is plenty you can do to make it much less nerve-racking—and even exciting and enjoyable. Here are some ideas: 1. Make a plan. Decide when you’re going to show your property, search for a new home, view listings, etc. Block out these times in an agenda book or calendar. That way, you and your family can see what’s coming up. 2. Be flexible. Few things go exactly as planned! So, it’s important to build in flexibility. For example, you may plan to see homes for sale on Saturdays, but if an opportunity comes up on a weeknight, give yourself room in your schedule to jump on it. 3. Eat well. There are numerous studies that connect poor nutrition with increased stress. When people are selling and moving, there’s a tendency to rely on quick fixes, such as hot dogs and pizza! Try to plan more nutritious meals that will keep everyone healthy and energized. 4. Get stuff done early. Doing things last minute, such as finding a real estate lawyer or getting rid of clutter, can quickly lead to stress and frustration. Whenever possible, get tasks done early. That way, you won’t have to worry about them. 5. Hire the right professionals. By far, the surest way to a stress-free move is to get the right professionals working for you: everyone from contractors to mortgage brokers to movers. By the way, a big part of what I do for clients is help make every aspect of buying, selling and moving go smoothly. Contact me to learn how I can help you.
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What You Need to Know about “Interest Free” Deals Next to your home and car, home furnishings represent the most expensive product purchases homeowners make. A mid-quality livingroom set, with sofa and two side chairs, can cost thousands of dollars. That’s why most furniture retailers offer “interest free” and “pay much later” deals to soften the blow. These are basically financing options. Say, for example, you want to purchase furniture for the rec room. The cost is $7,200. The furniture retailer may offer you a deal where you “don’t pay a cent” for six months. As long as you pay the balance within that time, no interest is charged. That sounds like a sweet deal. And it is. But, personal finance experts will advise you to tread carefully. If you pay off the balance within the “no interest” timeframe, you’ll benefit from the sweet deal, by having deferred the payment. However, if you fall behind on payments, you’ll be hit with a high interest charge. It’s often 20% or more. That can add hundreds of dollars to what you would have originally paid for the purchase. And, even if you paid down most of the balance within the no interest period, you can still get hit hard. Some “no interest” deals charge interest on the original financed amount — not just the remaining balance. The best advice, according to personal finance experts, is to read the fine print carefully and pay off the balance as promptly as you can.
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Open House Questions Some Buyers Forget to Ask An Open House is an event. And, like many events, it’s easy to get caught up in all the excitement and energy. In fact, when you visit an Open House, you might even end up rubbing elbows with other buyers who are there at the same time. It can feel like a party! In an environment like that, it’s not unusual to forget to ask important questions about the property. Here are some of the most common: • How old is the roof? • How old is the furnace, air conditioner and other HVAC equipment? • How does the price compare to similar properties in the neighbourhood? (You don’t want to make an offer that’s too high.) • What are the characteristics of the neighbourhood? (Amenities, safety, traffic, access to public transit, property turnover, etc.) • What doesn’t come with the home? (Ask specifically about kitchen appliances, gas-connected BBQs, chandeliers, window coverings.) • Are there any potential impediments to the sale? (Tenants, outstanding liens, etc.) • Are there any outstanding maintenance issues, or repairs that need to be done? (For example, cracked ceramics on the foyer floor.) • Are there any issues that impact the full use of the property? (Ask specifically about shared driveways or walkways, public “right of way” through the property, water drainage rights from neighbouring homes, etc.) Yes, an Open House can feel like a frenzy, and if it’s a home you love, you might feel pressured to make an offer. But, it’s important to take the time to ask the right questions and consider your decision carefully. You don’t want to find out, too late, that there were questions you should have asked. Want more tips on finding the home of your dreams? Call today.

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Subtle Signs it May Be Time to Sell Sometimes the reason for putting your home on the market is crystal clear. For example, you might have a job relocation and need to move. Or, you might have decided to downsize because the kids have left the nest. However, there are many other motivations to list your home that are not as obvious, and yet are still good reasons to make a move. Here are just a few examples... • You’re bored with your home and are looking for a change. • There’s something you’ve always wanted in a home that your current property doesn’t have, such as a wooded backyard. • You want to be closer to work, or to activities you enjoy, such as golf. • You want to be closer to family. • The neighbourhood is changing in a way that no longer fits the lifestyle you want. • There’s another neighbourhood you’ve always dreamed of living in. • Your tastes have changed and you want to live in a different type of home. None of these reasons makes it an absolute necessity to list your property and find a new home. Yet, they’re all worth considering, especially if moving will make you and your family happier, and provide you with a more desirable lifestyle. Want to talk about the possibilities? Call today.

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Using Neighbourhood Data to Help Sell Your Home Your neighbourhood has a lot of features that can help sell your home faster. Unfortunately, buyers don’t usually notice those features just by driving around. So, you need to make sure they get all the information they need about your neighbourhood. For example, say homes don’t go on the market often in your area. That’s an indication that the quality of life in the neighbourhood is so good that no one wants to leave! In real estate we measure the area’s “turnover rate”, and it’s handy data to have when listing your home. Another bit of data that buyers can’t simply see is the local crime rate. But, most police departments keep those statistics. If your neighbourhood has a low crime rate, that’s an obvious plus to sellers. Demographic data can also be helpful when selling your property. If your neighbourhood has a lot of families, for example, that’s going to be appealing to buyers with kids. Even local development plans can play a role in making your home more attractive to buyers. If a new ramp to a major highway is in the works nearby, getting to work is going to be easier. That’s a big benefit to commuters. Other types of data that can help sell your home include: • Planned local construction. • Proposals for neighbourhood improvements. (For example, a new playground.) • Rates at which local property values are increasing. Any information that shows the advantages of living in your area is going to be useful when selling. By the way, this is the kind of information I put together to provide to prospective buyers when selling your home. Contact me today.

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Should You Rent Out Part of Your Home? Have you ever considered renting out a room to a student or renovating your basement into a self-contained rental apartment? It’s a big decision. There are many pros and cons to consider. On the pro side, renting can provide you with additional income. An extra few hundred dollars a month can go a long way towards paying down your mortgage or splurging on an exotic summer vacation. Creating rentable living space in your home — for example, an “in-law suite” featuring a kitchenette and bathroom — may also increase your property’s market value. On the con side, you’ll have more costs and responsibilities as a landlord. For example, you might need to purchase extra insurance because basic home insurance policies typically do not cover rental units, even if you’re just renting out a room. You’ll also be responsible for dealing with repairs sometimes in the middle of the night. Also, if you’re not careful about the renter you choose, you might end up with a “problem tenant”. For example, you could have a tenant who is consistently late on rent payments or simply stops paying. That can be stressful. If you’re deciding whether or not to rent, be sure to check local laws and regulations. Many jurisdictions have very strict rules regarding renting out space in a residential property, and those rules change frequently. Make sure you get the latest information.

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Checklist for WOW-ing a Buyer during a Viewing Imagine you were selling your car, and a prospective buyer was on the way over to see it. What would you do? You would probably make your vehicle look as clean and shiny as possible, inside and out. The same holds true if you’re selling your home and there’s a potential buyer on the way. You want the buyer to be wow’d by your property. Here’s a handy checklist to follow: • Clean every room. Make your entire house look as “guest ready” as possible. • As much as is feasible given the time, reduce clutter. Consider packing some items into boxes and storing them in the basement or garage. • Get pets out of the house. You can take them for a walk, have a neighbour watch them, or take them to a good kennel. • Turn on the lights, even during the day. You want each room to look bright. • If there are any maintenance issues, such as a dripping faucet, let your Realtor know. Often, it’s best for buyers to be told rather than discover such issues themselves. • Open the curtains, except in those rooms where the sun will be uncomfortably strong during the viewing. • Move your vehicles from the driveway so the buyer can park there. (That can help them imagine living there, which is what you want!) • Make sure your foyer is especially clean and uncluttered. It’s the first “room” the buyer visits. • Avoid cooking just before a viewing. Even if the meal is wonderful, the aroma may linger. (Some people don’t like the smell of certain dishes, such as fish.) • Freshen up the outdoor space. Mow the lawn. Sweep the walkway. This viewing checklist will help you prepare your home quickly, so when the buyer comes in your front door, there’s a much better chance he or she will be impressed.

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Common Household Items that Can Cause a Fire You never want to smell smoke in your home and realize there’s a fire. That’s why it is important to be diligent about fire safety. Experts recommend that homeowners be especially careful with the following common household items: • Portable heaters. Never leave one in a room unattended. Make sure paper and other combustible materials are well away from these units. • Electronics chargers. We all want our computers, tablets and smartphones to charge quickly. The price we pay for that convenience is chargers that pull in a lot of power, making them very hot. Keep them away from combustible material, as well as other wiring. • Smoking materials. Be careful with cigarettes, pipes, cigars and other such items. Bedding and upholstery, which burn slowly and dangerously, are the source of 75% of smoking-related fires. • Candles. Never leave candles unattended for any reason. If you must leave the room, extinguish them. • Flammable liquids. These can include paints, thinners and some brands of cleaning products. Read labels carefully and follow the safety instructions. To paraphrase a famous expression: An ounce of prevention is worth not having to deal with a house fire.

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Common Household Items that Can Cause a Fire You never want to smell smoke in your home and realize there’s a fire. That’s why it is important to be diligent about fire safety. Experts recommend that homeowners be especially careful with the following common household items: • Portable heaters. Never leave one in a room unattended. Make sure paper and other combustible materials are well away from these units. • Electronics chargers. We all want our computers, tablets and smartphones to charge quickly. The price we pay for that convenience is chargers that pull in a lot of power, making them very hot. Keep them away from combustible material, as well as other wiring. • Smoking materials. Be careful with cigarettes, pipes, cigars and other such items. Bedding and upholstery, which burn slowly and dangerously, are the source of 75% of smoking-related fires. • Candles. Never leave candles unattended for any reason. If you must leave the room, extinguish them. • Flammable liquids. These can include paints, thinners and some brands of cleaning products. Read labels carefully and follow the safety instructions. To paraphrase a famous expression: An ounce of prevention is worth not having to deal with a house fire.

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Should You Buy the Latest Home Automation Gadgets? You’re at work when the thought hits you, “Did I lock the door when I left this morning?” You check your smartphone, see that you didn’t, and click the “LOCK” button. Now your house is secure. That’s home automation for you! But, is home automation a good idea? That depends on a number of factors. On the pro side, home automation can improve your quality of life. There are automation products that will adjust heating/cooling depending on whether or not you’re home, make your morning coffee when you get out of bed, and the list goes on and on. These conveniences save you time. Home automation can also give you peace-of-mind. It’s comforting to be able to remotely see the inside of your home and check that everything’s okay. Home automation can also make your property more appealing to buyers. Traditionally, buyers like homes with security systems, and will appreciate other automation gizmos, too. The only downside is the cost. Like most new technology, home automation products can be pricey and may become out-of-date within just a few years. Thinking about it? Experts advise you to do your research first. Check out product reviews online. Then, if you determine that a particular product is going to benefit you, go for it!

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I just finished uploading this Condo for sale, 110 5375 205 STREET, Langley, BC

Glenmont Park 55+ very well maintained Bright open 2 bdrm, 2 bthrm unit. Beautiful engineered hardwood in livrm, dinrm & hall, updated lighting & crown moulding throughout,gas fireplace. Kitchen has tile floor with a brand New DW, Bathroom has a new high end jetted walkin tub. In - Suite laundry has a newer stacking washer/dryer in a large open laundry room. Mbrdm features a large W/I closet & Patio access from both the bdrm & lvrm. Large deck that over looks a beautiful quiet park like setting. Storage locker conveniently located on the same floor. Guest suite, exercise rm, rec rm,RV parking and much more. Central location- close to shopping, recreation & all amenities. Short walk to Seniors centre.

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I just finished uploading this Condo for sale, 307 15368 16A AVENUE, South Surrey White Rock, BC

RARELY AVAILABLE - OCEAN BAY VILLAS This 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo shows extremely well. Located on the 3rd floor with a huge covered deck. Open floor plan with 9' ceilings, great kitchen with large eating bar and gas fireplace in living room. Amenities include bike room, gym, games rooms and guest suite. Close to shopping, recreation and transit. Well maintained building: Pets are welcome - some restrictions, rentals allowed. Open house 2-4 on June 24th and 25th. A pleasure to show!

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