Steve Sicard

Sales Representative
Mobile: 613.853.5807
Phone: 613.830.3350

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Staging tips to sell your home

Staging tips to sell your home fast

Successful staging will boost your home’s appeal & your chances of a speedy sale.




To set the stage for a speedy sale, you need to remember that buyers must be able to picture themselves living in the home.  Successful staging will boost your home’s appeal & your chances of a speedy sale.


THINK LIKE A BUYER
Looking at your home from a new perspective will help you correct any potential eye-sores you may have become used to over the years.   It will serve you well to picture some of your beloved items on display as clutter, and clear the way of things you do not need.
The removal of clutter also helps you with your packing process – so you’re ahead of the game!
 
BEDROOMS = COMFORT
A bedroom should be a place of relaxation, rest and serenity.  Stage your bedroom to look spacious, welcoming and cozy:
  • Paint the walls in a soft, neutral tone
  • Remove all furniture other than the bed, a dresser and night stands
  • Remove all knickknacks
  • Remove at least half your wardrobe from the closet t make the closet seem larger   
  • Invest in new linens / bedspreads and throw pillows
  • Clean the windows, dust, clean carpets or sweep & mop hard surface floors – Make it sparkle!
 
MAKE YOUR BATHROOM A BEAUTY
Your bathroom needs to make a great first impression, as it is considered one of the most important rooms of the house.  Your bathroom must be impeccably clean, somewhat modern, and again, free from knickknacks and personal items:
  • Replace old bathroom fixtures with new ones (towel rods, faucets, etc)
  • Hang new, luxurious looking towels that match the bathroom colour scheme
  • Before an open house, consider putting a fresh bouquet in the bathroom
  • Ruthlessly clean!  Scrub, scrub, scrub, and scrub!
 
CLEANLINESS IS YOUR BEST BET
Cleanliness trumps all.  Buyers must be able to imagine themselves living in your home, and anyone would have a hard time picturing themselves living in someone else’s filth.  In fact, your top to-do list when it comes to selling should be a deep, thorough clean.
If you have a pet, be especially vigilant about eradicating their odors – the smell of wet dog, or missy’s litter box could kill your sale.
 

Sell your Ottawa home fast


Summer Fun Guide!

Summerfunlogo
 

The Summer Fun Guide Event Calendar is your best place to find things to do in Ontario today, this weekend or next month. With loads of great events for singles, couples, and families, everyone can find a festival or event for a day off, a beautiful Sunday or a holiday.

 


Happy First Day of Summer!

Here is a list of outdoor pools in the ottawa area to help you beat the heat this summer!

 

Click here for the list

Keep Your Home Safe While on Vacation

With summer just around the corner, you may be planning your summer getaway. Here is a great article with tips to keep your home safe while you are away

Click the file links below


Thinking of building a deck?

Click here for an article to help you get started


Make Moving Easier!

Moving can be a very exciting, but stressful time.

Click here for an article with tips to make it easier!


There are lots of fun events happening around Ottawa this weekend!

There is the Ottawa Dog Festival, Italian Week, Dessertfest, Latin Sparks and so much more!

Click here to see all the details!


House prices climb 7.4 per cent in May as Ottawa market strengthens

JAMES BAGNALL, OTTAWA CITIZEN

Published on: June 2, 2017 | Last Updated: June 2, 2017 7:26 PM EDT
 
Real estate agents are finally getting a taste of spring — at least in some parts of the city. 
The average price for residential properties in Ottawa sold in May jumped 7.4 year over year to $436,600, the Ottawa Real Estate Board reported Friday. It’s the second month in a row that has seen prices increase in excess of seven per cent, suggesting Ottawa’s real estate market is strengthening in favour of sellers.

Certainly agents are seeing multiple offers for new listings, particularly for single family homes in popular districts to the west and south of the downtown core. Toronto investors are now on the scene, hunting for real estate investments that don’t cost the moon. “I’ve had six clients from Toronto looking for properties,” said one agent who did not want to be named.

Certainly the number of transactions in Ottawa picked up in May.

“It was a rainy month,” said board president Rick Eisert. “It’s possible a lot of people couldn’t do outdoor things so they went shopping for houses.”

The board reported that its members sold nearly 1,900 residential units in May, up sharply from 1,600 a year earlier.  The market for condominiums was even more active as real estate agents sold a record 444 units in May, compared to just 307 in May 2016, representing a surge of nearly 45 per cent.

“The condo market has really helped strengthen the whole market over the past few months,” said Eisert. “There were a lot of condos in inventory and people were happy to be selling them off.”

Even so, the prices fetched for condo sales were modest. They averaged $271,000 in May, up just 2.3 per cent year over year.

A look at 46 districts tracked by the Ottawa Real Estate Board reveals some remarkable divisions across the city. A dozen areas recorded year-over-year gains in benchmark prices of less than 3.5 per cent for single family homes — and all but two of these were in the eastern sections of the city. These include enclaves such as Blackburn Hamlet and Orléans, home for thousands of Department of National Defence employees.

(The detailed district data uses a benchmark price developed by the OREB and other regional agencies. This tracks housing characteristics such as age of property, number of bathrooms and type of roof, which permits the creation of an index on which the benchmark price is based. The OREB claims it offers a more consistent view of underlying trends in the housing market.)

Real estate agents reported a significant shift in preferences among DND employees for homes closer to the department’s new headquarters in the west end of the city, especially for those who are being transferred into the city. While the DND headquarters move is running behind schedule, more than 1,000 workers have finally moved onsite, with 7,000 more due to arrive in the next two or three years.

Of course, many DND staff members will continue to work out of downtown office buildings — about half DND’s total local workforce will eventually be based at the new headquarters. This means DND’s influence over the housing market isn’t being felt entirely in the west. Some families are opting for homes south of the downtown core, which may account for some of the popularity of districts such as Hunt Club/Windsor Park (where single family homes sold for 20 per cent more in May compared to a year earlier) and Billings Bridge/Riverside (up 15 per cent). 

A strengthening high-tech sector, much of it clustered in Kanata, is helping to drive up prices in western districts. But with online retailing specialist Shopify set to significantly expand its downtown operation, house prices in the south and perhaps even the city’s core could be set for a boost in the months to come.

Lightning Safety on the Soccer Field

Here is a great video from Environment Canada that explains what to do in the case of lightning and how to access The Canadian Lightning Danger Map which represents areas at greater risk of being struck by lightning in the next ten minutes.


Doors Open Ottawa – Explore Ottawa’s culture, history, and architecture for FREE June 3 and 4, 2017!

The City of Ottawa is proud to present Doors Open Ottawa, a free annual architectural event that celebrates our community’s built heritage.

 

During the first full weekend in June, over 150 historically, culturally, and functionally significant buildings will be featured in honour of Canada’s 150th birthday! From Carp to Cumberland, over 80,000 visitors will explore some of the city’s most interesting places, and you’re invited!

Click here for more info!



Ottawa's Economic Outlook

Yet another reason to be optimistic about living in our nation’s capital!

The economic outlook is looking strong with Canada’s 150 celebrations around the corner and the federal government going on a hiring spree, which is expected to grow the Ottawa-Gatineau work force by 2.5%

Click HERE for the full CBC article with quotes from Alan Arcand, the associate director for the board's Centre for Municipal Studies.

What does all this mean for the real estate market in the greater Ottawa area or, more specifically, your neighbourhood? Is now the right time to buy or sell? Contact me and I’ll be more than happy to help you in any way I can. 

Have you had a chance to check out the City of Ottawa 'In My Neighbourhood' application?

It is a bilingual, interactive map of Ottawa that offers a quick way for residents and prospective buyers to locate schools, libraries, parks, recreation facilities, events, and more.

 

Click here to try it out!



Ottawa beefs up spending in federal budget for data collection on the housing market to provide a clearer picture on the conditions driving housing prices

The government will spend nearly $300 million over the next decade to collect data about the housing market.

In particular, the Liberals have budgeted $39.9 million over the next five years so that Statistics Canada can compile information on foreign ownership of homes in Canada, as well as assembling data on the demographics of owners and how they are financing their home purchases. 

Click here to read the full article


31 Plants that Repel Mosquitoes

With all the rain and flooding the Ottawa area has dealt with this spring, mosquitoes are going to be a problem this summer.

 

Here is a list of plants that when planted in your yard or in a pot near your porch, will help to keep these pesky bugs away naturally

 

Click here to read the article



Not sure what to do with your tulips after they’ve bloomed?

Here is a great article that explains the best way to care for your tulips!

Click here to read the article



Looking for things to do this long weekend?

Here is a list of What’s On in and around Ottawa this May Long Weekend – including free, fun family & kids’ activities, live music, theatre, performing arts, sports and exhibitions.

 

Click here to see all the events

11 EASY AND BUDGET-FRIENDLY WAYS TO BOOST YOUR HOME’S EXTERIOR

The countdown to summer is on! That means it’s time to get your home’s exterior—including the front entry, deck, lawn and garden—ready. Follow these expert tips and tricks to boost your curb appeal, prep for outdoor entertaining and have your yard looking its best (even on a budget).

 

Click here to read the full article


Biking in Ottawa!

It’s starting to finally feel like Spring! Festivals are just around the corner, the Sens are in the middle of their Stanley Cup run, and the weather is starting to become a lot more co-operative.

More importantly (ok, second most important…GO SENS GO!) it now means we can dust off our bikes and enjoy the city for what it is!

HERE is a nice resource/idea for tourists visiting Ottawa, or just for those of you who haven’t had the chance for tune up your bikes and rediscover the beauty of the Rideau Pathway.

As always, if you’re looking for more Spring time tips or would just have general inquiries about your real estate needs give me a call or send me an email! I’d love to help in anyway.


The Open House Check List

OK, so you’ve made the decision to list your property. That’s an important start. You found the realtor you trust, got a lot of the legal mumbo-jumbo out of the way, and are ready to bring it to market.

Congrats!

The hard part is out of the way and it should be smooth sailing from here on, right?

Well…

A lot of people discount how much work is needed for showings and open houses. Due to this misconception, you can find yourself swamped in unexpected stress and last minute jobs that completely slip your mind until they need to get done.

And how were you supposed to know, right? Selling your property can be stressful. Even the most prepared among us can’t plan for every situation that arises.

It’s not easy. I get it.

Luckily, through my years of experience, I’ve picked up a lot of tricks and resources to make showings as smooth and stress-free as possible. Click HERE for one such resource: A neat (and cheeky) check-list to make sure you’re prepared for your next showing.

Looking for more tricks of the trade, or just have general questions? Give me a call! I’d love to help out in any way I can. 


Rain Gardens: More than just curb-appeal!

Curbside appeal is important, especially if you're considering listing your property. It plays a role in maximising value and marketing potential, and is a must-do for the Spring/Summer Market.  

But, curbside appeal isn't just pretty window dressing or the "Awe!" factor. The best appeals actually serve a function that adds to the practicality of your property.

Here is a neat article on an idea that not only adds to your curbside appeal, but could potentially help keep your basement dry during the rainy season. This also translates well to certain areas of Ottawa and the Ottawa Valley

Click HERE for the full CBC article. 

Have any questions or are looking for more ideas? Let me know and I'll be happy to lend a helping hand!


The trends continues!

As we enter Spring, it looks like this season is going to continue the trend from the new year. Low inventory and high demand means listings, on average, are more likely to see multiple offers and quicker sales! This is where having a realtor you know and trust comes into play.

Take a look at the graphic and see how the market is trending in comparison to this time last year!


​Ottawa house prices up 7.9% in April

JAMES BAGNALL

FIRST POSTED: WEDNESDAY, MAY 03, 2017 04:14 PM EDT | UPDATED: WEDNESDAY, MAY 03, 2017 09:51 PM EDT

Ottawa’s housing market strengthened in the favour of sellers in April as average prices for residential properties jumped 7.9 per cent year over year to $435,900. Members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board sold nearly 1,500 properties in April, up 2.5 per cent compared to April 2016, the OREB reported Wednesday.


Click here to read the full article



Have a Green Thumb Without Red Eyes: 9 Gardening Tips for Allergy Sufferers

Staying indoors to avoid your own backyard? Most gardeners tend to bury their love of gardening due to fear of plant pollens and other allergy and asthma triggers.

 

But you don’t have to throw in the trowel! Stop and smell the flowers (minus the sniffles) with these tips from the experts at Allergy & Asthma SpecialistsSMClick here to read the full article


The Tulip Festival is coming up May 12-22

This year’s special 65th anniversary program offers activities at four official sites as well as breathtaking Tulipmania Fireworks set to music, guided tours, vintage military displays paying tribute to our veterans, and the WWII liberation of the Netherlands by Canadian troops; and restaurant and hotel special offers.

 

Click here for more information on all of the events



2017 Ontario budget: 10 things you need to know

THE GLOBE AND MAILLAST UPDATED: FRIDAY, APR. 28, 2017 12:18AM EDT

 

The Ontario Liberals announced the province’s first balanced budget in a decade on Thursday, an expected move that could be construed as the unofficial start to the 2018 election campaign.

Much of the budget covered several areas that have already been addressed – most notably, the province’s 16-point plan for housing reform. But it also unveiled several billion dollars of additional spending in health care, referred to as a “booster shot” by Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa.

Click here to read the full article


An interesting look back at our city's past

A glimpse into our visual past reveals a nascent Ottawa very different from the one we know today

 

CBC News • Danny Globerman April 22, 2017

With Canadians celebrating a year-long 150th birthday party, CBC Ottawa is digging into the archives — our own and others — for the unusual, the revealing, and the historic images from our city’s past.

Click here to see the article



Home inspectors welcome Ontario’s plan to regulate their industry

Published CBC.ca

 

By Trevor Pritchard, CBC News Posted: Apr 16, 2017 5:00 AM ET Last Updated: Apr 16, 2017 5:00 AM ET

Home inspectors in Ontario are lauding new legislation that would require them to be licensed, have insurance, and abide by a code of ethics — and potentially face discipline if they don’t.

The Putting Consumers First Act, which was passed last week at Queen’s Park, will impose new rules upon one of the few professionals involved in real-estate transactions that have not been historically subject to provincial regulation.

“It’s terrific news,” said Michael Levitan, a home inspector who also teaches home inspection skills at Algonquin College in Ottawa.

“Right now home inspection is not a regulated industry,” Levitan told CBC Radio’s Ottawa Morning. “So if you hire a home inspector, you’re not exactly sure what’s going to happen during your home inspection.”

Click here to read the full article



Enjoy Spring in Ottawa with these Family Outdoor Activities

As the weather gets warmer, it’s time to shed some of those cozy winter layers and head outside into the sunshine. Ottawa has several activities that lets the whole family take advantage of the warmer springtime weather. Whether you want to see new baby animals or you want to head out to explore the city on a bike, Ottawa has an attraction that is sure to delight. Explore some of the spring activities Canada’s Capital has to offer!

 

Click here to read the full article





For all of us in the Ottawa region, the spring thaw means potential flooding. 
More than just a nuisance, evidence suggests that basement flooding can be linked to serious health problems. Recurrent basement flooding can result in longer-term damage to the building and equipment that may not be covered by insurance. It may also mean that insurance rates may rise or the minimum deductible may be increased, as well the potential that your property value may depreciate.

 

Preventing Flooding


Some flooding can be prevented. A few checks and simple changes in the fall can mitigate the damage and heartbreak caused by flooding.

Slope ground away from the foundation to allow rainwater to flow away from the home.
Seal window wells and cracks in floors, walls and the foundation.

Direct water from downspouts at least 4 ft. away from the foundation. Downspouts should never be embedded in the ground, or connected to the sewer system or footing drains. Water should flow to ground surface or storm drainage system.

If you have a sump pump, ensure that it is connected to the storm sewer system or empties onto the lawn at least 4 ft. from the foundation wall.

Don’t keep valuables or important documents in the basement; if you must, protect them in water tight containers. It won’t hold back the water, but will prevent heartache and frustration if flooding does occur.

What to do when flooded


SAFETY FIRST! DO NOT enter your basement if the water level is above any plug, electrical outlet, extension cord or baseboard heater. Call Ottawa Hydro at 613-738-6400; the power can be shut off from the outside. If it hasn’t reached that level, you can turn off the power at the main switch. Wear rubber boots when walking on a wet surface, and, as dry wood is not a good conductor, stand on a wooden chair and shut off the power with a wooden broom handle.

Call your gas supplier (Enbridge 24-hour service line 1-866-763-5427) if the flood water is threatening your gas-powered furnace, water heater or stove.
Remove standing water with a pump or buckets, then with a wet/dry shop vacuum.
Remove any valuable items from the area until the basement is water free.

Clean Up


Open windows to allow fresh air in.
Dehumidify the house until it is completely dry.
Carpets must be dried and cleaned within 48 hours, this will require professional help.
Throw out canned goods and any other foods that may have been affected.
Flush, disinfect and scrub floor drains and sump pits using a diluted chlorine bleach solution.
 
Don’t forget!
Take photos and videos of damage.
Contact your insurance agent.

Sewer back-up


If the flooding is caused by a back-up of water and/or sewage:
Check and clear blockages in toilets, sinks and waste pipes and clear any blockages to ensure that the flooding is not due to an internal plumbing problem.
Don't use toilets and sinks, as water sent down the drain will likely end up in your basement.
Install a backwater valve or other plumbing devices that protect against sewer back-ups. The City of Ottawa has an incentive program to encourage residents who experienced back-ups to install protective plumbing devices. Check
http://ottawa.ca/en/city-hall/funding/environmental-program-funding/residential-protective-plumbing-program for details.

Add small amounts of chlorine bleach to the standing water, as sewage contaminated water may contain a number of different bacteria and viruses which can cause major health issues. Wear rubber gloves, as skin irritation or infection can also occur from contact with contaminated water. When cleaning up, wear protective clothing, including protective eyeglasses and a facemask.

Remove wall materials at least 20” above the highest water lines
You will need to discard all affected insulation materials, carpet, particleboard furniture, furniture coverings, padding and cushion mattresses, box springs, pillows and stuffed toys.
Good quality wood furniture frames must be cleaned, disinfected, rinsed and dried away from heat or sunlight. Rinse and wash clothing several times in hot water with soap and chlorine bleach and dry quickly.

Wash and wipe down all surfaces and structures with chlorine bleach, ensuring that there is adequate cross-ventilation to remove fumes. Then, rinse again.


Building the foundation of a house-buying budget requires resisting temptation

Craig Wong, The Canadian Press
Published online CTV News Monday, April 3, 2017 6:30AM EDT

 

OTTAWA — Whether it’s the sizzling real estate market or the desire for something just a little bit nicer, the temptation to stretch your homebuying budget may be tough to resist.

But there are numerous factors to take into account before making the biggest purchase of your life, even if you’ve qualified with your lender for more.

John DeRose, who oversees Vancity’s mobile mortgage specialists, says people paying $1,500 a month in rent can’t necessarily afford a monthly mortgage of $1,500.

 

Click here to read the full article


Missed the Home & Garden Show Last Week? Here’s what’s new for 2017

Indoors-and-out ideas from the Ottawa Home & Garden Show

MEGAN GILLIS, POSTMEDIA Ottawa Citizen Online Published on: March 23, 2017 | Last Updated: March 23, 2017 9:45 AM EDT

 


Here’s a Smart Way to Protect Yourself From Higher Mortgage Rates!

Rob Carrick

The Globe and Mail



The Ottawa residents’ guide to making the most of 2017

Published on March 26, 2017 in the Ottawa Business Journal Online

“This is the year to be a tourist in your own town. Take advantage of the resources at OttawaTourism.ca to learn about all the amazing events and to make plans – get to know your city all over again.”

2017 HIGHLIGHTS

Click here for a sampling of what you can enjoy in Ottawa this year


Things to do in Ottawa this Spring


Ottawa road closures for Saturday's St. Patrick's Day Parade

By Sarah Dea, CBC News Posted: Mar 09, 2017 2:08 PM ET Last Updated: Mar 10, 2017 4:03 PM ET

Motorists should expect delays Saturday as the City of Ottawa closes downtown streets for the annual St Patrick’s Day parade.

Although the parade does not begin until 11 a.m., westbound lanes on Laurier Avenue between Nicholas Street and Elgin Street and lanes along the parade route will be closed from 7:30 a.m. until noon.

The parade begins at Ottawa City Hall and will travel west on Laurier Avenue, turn left on Bank Street and end at Marché Way near Lansdowne Park, where businesses will remain open. Roads will reopen as the parade passes.

The city says the Laurier Avenue entrance to city hall will be closed between 7:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. The entrance to city hall on Elgin Street will be open as usual.

Some OC Transpo routes including 1, 2, 5, 7 and 14 will face detours because of the parade road closures.

Click here for full article and map of closures


Organizing Tips To Help The Sandwich Generation Manage It All

Posted: 03/02/2017 2:52 pm EST Huffington Post


Whether it's young children growing up and needing your time for activities and school or aging parents needing extra attention, the generation caught in the middle of this is being spread thin. The sandwich generation has become the norm for Canadians, bringing packed schedules and extreme stress.

Click here to read the full article with tips to help manage it all


Thinking of selling? NOW is a great time to list your home!




March Break is next week! 
Looking for things to do with the family?


Bring the family to enjoy these March Break activities in and around Ottawa!


Click here for a list of activities

 


The spring market is primed for competitive season ahead

“Numbers continue to indicate a positive trend for Ottawa as a whole,” says President of the Ottawa Real Estate Board. “Even with the additional day in February last year due to the leap year, sales this year are up in both the residential and condo property classes. Keep in mind though, that all real estate is local, and that prices and conditions will vary from neighbourhood to neighbourhood.”

 

Click here to read the full article

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