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Ottawa, ON Real Estate News

By Valerie Zinger, Home Organizer
(House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada)
Do you remember the child's game where one child stands in the centre of a ring of children and a button is passed around the circle leaving the centre child to guess who has the button?  Well, a version of this game is played occasionally by real estate agents and sellers.  I was out for breakfast with Mary, my friend, and her friend, Sally.  In the course of the meal, Sally found out that I work in real estate.  She asked me if she could get some advice and also unload a complaint.   Well,  the good news is that Sally doesn't live in Ottawa so this would not be about my colleagues.  Sally is selling her house.  She contracted with a local agent to list and sell her home.  A lock box was installed.  One morning, while she was away and her daughter was at home, someone came in the hous...
Comments 59
By Valerie Zinger, Home Organizer
(House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada)
Your clients are selling their home but they are also leaving on that long awaited summer vacation.  The house has yet to sell.  What do you need your clients to do and what do you need? Get an extra set of house keys.  If the one in the lockbox gets lost or broken or taken home by another agent (hopefully by mistake), you need to be able to get another key in the lockbox.  Get the codes for the alarm system. if you don't already have them.  People walking out on vacation automatically set up the alarm system.  You need to be able to turn it off, call the monitoring company, give them the secret code word and ensure that the police do not show up if another agent has triggered the alarm.  Ensure that you have of all the phone numbers.  Make sure the clients take their mobile phone give...
Comments 49
By Valerie Zinger, Home Organizer
(House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada)
Does your life feel like it is spinning out of control?  Like this garden spinner, sometimes we cannot see our way through to the other side.  Today is Sunday.  Stop for a bit and relax.  Sit and let your mind wander to all the wonder in the world and in your life.   Focus on the good.  Now, when you feel your heart beat slow and you are breathing nice and deeply, think of one thing on your to do list that you can do today and then it will be finished.  Just one thing.  Don't start anything else until this is done and you will have a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. Just breathe.
Comments 18
By Valerie Zinger, Home Organizer
(House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada)
I love being in the country and seeing the barbed wire fences made from tree posts.  This is one of my favourite photos.   I took it last year while being in Quebec.  Trust the Nikon to capture all the little details such as the grass.    I have given this photo (along with 2 other posts) framed and matted as a gift.  It makes a nice statement.   
Comments 32
By Valerie Zinger, Home Organizer
(House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada)
This is the list.  I am grateful for the people who have Suggested these posts.  They were fun to write.  I hope that these posts informed, entertained and amused you.    Date Title 9/5/2010 It will be too late to say you're sorry after the house is built. 9/22/2010 I hate housework but .... 9/26/2010 Don't flush away a sale 9/28/2010 Pot is not..... Good for the sale of your home. 10/3/2010 Do not expose your fruit of the loom. 10/8/2010 Why fix it if I am just going to sell it? 10/9/2010 Buyers Beware: What is that real estate ad really telling you? 10/12/2010 Buyers' Despair - There is nothing out there for me to buy. 10/14/2010 Knock Knock - On the Door To a Sale 10/16/2010 R-e-s-p-e-c-t 10/19/2010 3 Factors That Make No Difference to The Right Price For Your Home  10/22/2010 Buyin...
Comments 36
By Valerie Zinger, Home Organizer
(House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada)
I wanted to make something fun for my Open House last Sunday.   I normally have a small bowl of lifesaver mints (individually wrapped) and some packets of Red Zinger tea.  Just a bit boring.  I found a cute recipe for cookie hamburgers.  Basically, a box of Nilla cookies, a can of icing, red and green food colouring, big shreds of coconut and some little chocolate chocolate-chip cookies.   What took me the most time - finding the right little 'hamburger" cookies.  Hand to the good book (Paula Deen's cookbook where the basic ingredient of EVERY recipe is butter or cream or both), I have never bought a can of icing in my life.  Can't say I would do it again but this was for fun and for others so....  This photo is close to how my hamburgers looked - I omitted the sesame seeds and didn't m...
Comments 97
By Valerie Zinger, Home Organizer
(House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada)
Open House protocol came into question yesterday.  A few visitors asked me if they should ring the bell and wait for the agent or just walk into the house.  I said - Please ring the bell to let me know that there is someone there and then walk in -  if the door is unlocked.  The door would only be locked if there were too many people in the house and I needed to crowd control.  I said that if I was tied up (hopefully just figuratively) with other visitors in another part of the home, I would like to know that someone else is coming in the house AND I would not expect them to wait for several minutes at the door until I could free myself from the other people.  Another question was - shoes or bare feet?  Well, it was hot yesterday but, when asked, I said that the homeowner would prefer t...
Comments 61
By Valerie Zinger, Home Organizer
(House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada)
  What comes first, the neighbourhood or the house?  There are the three top considerations when buying a house - price, location and condition.  The chicken and the egg are about first finding the house.  What is most important?  The old adage of "location, location, location" should tell you that you choose your neighbourhood first and then you look for the house.  Some people have told me that they will buy almost anything if they can live in XX neighbourhood, if they can live withing walking distance of the relatives (built in babysitters) or within walking distance of the synagogue.  Others are picking their homes based upon commute times to work.  Time is money, honey. When presented with a vast array of homes located throughout the city or countryside, pick the neighbourhood fir...
Comments 47
By Valerie Zinger, Home Organizer
(House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada)
I was at a presentation made by a home appraiser to a group of real estate agents.  It shocked me when he said a house would only last 40 years.  He then paused.  People, like me, were busy thinking of every home in the city that was over 40 years old and knew that he was wrong.  Just plain wrong.    For round 2, he said it would be uninhabitable in 40 years IF (now here is the rub) the owners did not maintain the home.    So let's see - how many roofs do not sustain some type of damage from age, wind, snow, hail, sun exposure, rot, etc in 40 years?  I live in an neighbourhood with homes built at least 40 years ago.  Every spring, summer and fall roofing companies are busy with their business  -  taking off the old shingles, repairing any damage and then putting on the new shingles.  Ce...
Comments 162
By Valerie Zinger, Home Organizer
(House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada)
These lovely glass roses are individually made and adorn a very unusual feature of an atelier (workshop).  Can you guess where they are located? This is the inside of one of the glass workshops.  Doesn't look too bad but then, it is open to the public who visit Murano.  Okay, I just used that as filler so that you would have time to guess where the roses 'grow'.   Now, for the reveal........   Ta da....... If you have lots of lemons, make lemonade. If you have lots of glass, adorn a doorway for the whole world to enjoy your work!
Comments 12
By Valerie Zinger, Home Organizer
(House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada)
Are you considering a rural property or a home on a lake or by the seashore?  If your considered property is not on a municipal water system, make sure that you have the water tested for potability.  You want safe drinking water, low in bacteria / pathogens.  The homeowner will give you the results from their latest test but be cautious.  The homeowner may be a wonderful person, kind to children, dogs and Buyers but water can be contaminated quickly and Sellers sometimes get anxious to sell.  That water may have come from somewhere other than the property.  Take the sample yourself.   Your agent should not take a water sample for you.   You want to be completely in control and possession of the sample.  Take it or send it to a water testing facility.  Read the results carefully.   Wate...
Comments 18
By Valerie Zinger, Home Organizer
(House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada)
Depending upon your budget, getting your yard ready for a home sale can cost a little or a lot.  1.  Assess where you live.  Do people spend a little or a lot of time outside, year round or just a few months every summer.  The more time people are outdoors, the more time, effort and money you need to consider to stage the yard. 2.  How big is your lot?  Can you locate a tennis court in the corner?  Is the backyard just a pool and a deck?  Are you in a tiny townhouse or apartment with a balcony sized exterior property.  All of these spaces can be improved to sell. 3.  Small budget?  Clean, sweep, rake, hose down the dirt, wash the exterior windows.  Don't forget to weed.  Every Buyer I have taken out to look at houses notices the lawn and the flower beds.   Care and time spent here will ...
Comments 34
By Valerie Zinger, Home Organizer
(House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada)
Today I am reminded of the saying "Never Say Never".  I was commenting on a post about moving and said that I had promised my husband that, if we bought our current house, we would never have to move again.  Well, I am not moving now but I spend a lot of time looking at houses and I always look for the next house.  The reality of life is that we can seldom say 'Never" and know that we can stick to it. In French there is an expression that means "Never say never".  Translated (poorly by me) the expression is:  Never say "Fountain, I will never drink from your water." Il ne faut jamais dire "Fontaine, je ne boirai pas de ton eau!" We can all think of times when we did something we said we would never do - zipline, take on family as clients, sell in the country, work on a team, drive a SUV...
Comments 20
By Valerie Zinger, Home Organizer
(House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada)
The three factors for home selling are price, condition and location.  When considering location, most people think of city versus rural, urban versus suburban, neighbourhoods, streets, etc.   Now, think for a minute that there are homes around golf courses, parks and cemeteries.  All of these are nice green spaces, normally quiet and gives those backing onto them lots of privacy.  However, cemeteries are not considered by many as good neighbhourhood features.  Some cultures will not live anywhere near a cemetery - from 1,000 feet to 5 miles away.   Feng Shui practitioners think that there is negative energy emanating from those buried.  For others, a cemetery is just plain creepy, eerie and disturbing.  Dead people, wilting flowers, visitors on key days such as Mother's Day, Easter an...
Comments 25
By Valerie Zinger, Home Organizer
(House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada)
Add flowers.   Most construction in North America does not lend itself to deep window wells.  Now, if your home was 300 years old or more, then the walls would be thick and the window wells deep.  If you have your home for sale, think of adding flowers, hanging, flower boxes or on your exterior window sills.  Being the horrible wretch that I am, I had to add the signature and the location.   Hope you like this collage.
Comments 48
By Valerie Zinger, Home Organizer
(House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada)
When I was in Milan (OMG, I can actually say that), I walked around the duomo (cathedral) and saw a Pop-Up House in progress.  Of course, I had never heard about pop-ups except in children's books so this was interesting.  As you can see from the sign, the Tommy Hilfiger house existed for 7 days in May.  At the end of the that week, the house is totally dismantled, the sod is rolled up and the store silently slips away into the night.  Okay, maybe not that romantically but.... So Pop-Ups.  Who knew?  There are such things as Pop-up restaurants. Chefs create an edgy menu, the doors open, people hear about it through contacts and after 100 days or so, the restaurant disappears.  Pop-Ups.  Fun, exclusive - only those who find out about the pop-up even stand a chance of getting in - and som...
Comments 26
By Valerie Zinger, Home Organizer
(House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada)
Today is Canada Day.  Happy Birthday!  144 Years I hope my AR friends and readers will join me in celebrating Canada Day.  John F. Kennedy in 1961 said, when addressing the Canadian Parliament: "Geography has made us neighbors. History has made us friends. Economics has made us partners. And necessity has made us allies. Those whom nature hath so joined together, let no man put asunder. What unites us is far greater than what divides us." Photo:  Taken with my Nikon on July 1 (Canada Day) 2010 at the Experimental Farm. 
Comments 23
By Valerie Zinger, Home Organizer
(House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada)
Buildings with double doors that are 12 feet high and have the handle in the middle that is big enough for a giant - are just plain impressive. Really 3 people and two suitcases can get in an elevator that is 6 by 2 1/2 - really and keep praying while it descends.  If you read a map with your head down while walking down the street  - you are going to miss your corner, hit other pedestrians and not see Rome. If you find a great place to eat, go back several times - there is no adventure more important than a good menu to explore over 3 visits. Over 30 Celsius is stinking hot and humidex taking it over 40 is just not meant for man nor beast - nor women over a certain age. If you wear shorts that show your nu-nu and a sleeveless tank top - don't be surprised if you cannot get into see th...
Comments 34
By Valerie Zinger, Home Organizer
(House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada)
About a year ago, I was doing an Open House.  I had a lot of free time while in the house and took a couple of shots of how the Sellers left the house for Buyers to see.   When you are putting your house on the market, please get it show home ready.  People cannot look beyond clutter and dirt.   If they can, then they want a huge price reduction for a home that they think has been neglected.  These are not staged photos.  Then there was the fridge/freezer that was included in the sale: When in doubt about a broom closet, just leave the things in the middle of the kitchen  ......... There were a few visitors and each person commented on the 'box' room.  One person opened the freezer (remember, it was included in the sale of the house) and a couple of people smiled when they saw the mop a...
Comments 39
By Valerie Zinger, Home Organizer
(House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada)
Fotosketcher is free software available to turn photos into watercolours, pen and ink drawings and a number of other effects.  We all know that there is only so much time available for playing with technology and software so I put off trying Fotosketcher since first reading about it almost a year ago.  There was a small write-up in the newspaper and I made sure to write it in my little book of interesting websites.  Just to show you a couple of effects, here is one of my favourite photos that I used to see the changes.  This photo was taken this spring when the trees and bushes were just starting to bud.  I used a very close setting on the Nikon so that the background blurred naturally.  I love the colours in this photo and am thinking of having a wall hanging made.  Now the question is...
Comments 46