Ottawa, ON Real Estate News

By Valerie Zinger, Home Organizer
(House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada)
Are your gutters so packed with debris that things are growing in the muck?  There is definitely no market for a house with little trees growing in the gutters.  Not only is it unsightly but it also risks water penetration into the house.   This is one of the things that a Home Inspector will notice first when he or she takes a look at the house from the street.  Maybe your gutters are on the second floor and it is difficult to get up there and clean out the debris.   From time to time hire someone to go up there and get the foliage removed.  The cost now will be offset by the reduction in repairs and maintenance to the house from water damage.  Clean gutters allow water to flow away from the house. Have some guts. Photo credit:  Gutter garden
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By Valerie Zinger, Home Organizer
(House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada)
Almost every house in Ottawa has resident spiders.  It seems our winter weather draws them indoors.  Now, I have been in homes in almost every province and in a number of states and guess what - spider webs.  Maybe like cockroaches, these bugs will last centuries.  Your job, before putting your house on the market and then before people come to view your house, it to take a broom and wipe down all the cob webs.  Favourite spider places are corners and in and around light fixtures.  Sure, they are invisible, until you turn on the lights and then - YIKES!!!  Make sure you do your best to catch and release the spiders to the great outdoors. Now go outside and look for spider webs by the front and back doors and near the outdoor lights.  This photo is one that I took on my front verandah.  ...
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By Valerie Zinger, Home Organizer
(House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada)
It is spring moving into summer.  Now is the time to make your home full of light with a clean airy feeling.  You want to get the final applause on your home.  It is time to sell, sell, sell.  Spring - peak market time.  Take down heavy floral drapes and replace with sheers that will let in the light.  Update the window treatments at a reasonable price with ready made sheers, roman blinds or bamboo rollers. If you are going to spend a bit of money to help sell your home, look for attractive rods and finials.  It is a small detail that Buyers notice.  Be ready to take a final bow. Photo credit:  Curtains  
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By Valerie Zinger, Home Organizer
(House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada)
Sure, we get accustomed to driving to work - a long commute to a downtown office tower and then, around 3:00, there is the backed up traffic on the freeways as the office workers try to get home.  There is nothing sadder (and a little dangerous) about a deserted core area.  Crime goes up.  The area looks dirty.  No one is watching and people keep on leaving.  In Chicago, as in many cities, the downtown area is vibrant.  Buildings have been converted to condos.  New condo buildings have gone up and hotels are doing a booming business.  There are people on the streets.  It looks and feels safe.  For many people a real housing option with an urban lifestyle is available by moving closer or into the core of the city.  The larger the population, the safer and more attractive the housing.  C...
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By Valerie Zinger, Home Organizer
(House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada)
I just got back from a few days in Chicago.  I was part of a group from Winnipeg Manitoba who are associated with the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra.  Amongst all of the wonderful things that we saw, did, learned and consumed the most interesting was the Chicago Architecture Foundation tour of Frank Lloyd Wright's home and studio in Oak Park (as well as the Unitarian Temple and a number of his designed homes that we saw from the sidewalk). I love the Prairie style.  The Chicago home and studio, like Taliesan West (Scottdale, Arizona) is full of the furniture and furnishings that he designed.  The man had superior talent and the most interesting life.  After hearing more about his family life on this tour I will have to read Loving Frank and T.C. Boyle's book - The Women.  While neither is f...
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By Valerie Zinger, Home Organizer
(House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada)
  If you were a rich man, you could build a big tall house with rooms by the dozen, Right in the middle of the town. A fine tin roof with real wooden floors below. There would be one long staircase just going up, And one even longer coming down, And one more leading nowhere, just for show. But until you are rich, keep your house decisions simple and saleable.  Don't fiddle around with your future. Photo credit:  JF090501_DSB_FolkLife_Fiddles_MatthewDucet
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By Valerie Zinger, Home Organizer
(House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada)
On January 18th I wrote a post called R Rated Photos.  Oh yes, I knew it was a suggestive title but what the heck?  My objective was to make people aware of the intrusion and possible legal issues related to taking photos in a Seller's house without permission.  Now, the post: Was Featured; Contains 191 comments; Has been read by 4,903 people; Has had 4,574 people actually going to the whole post that included the comments.  Has been reblogged at least 5 times; and, 13 people clicked on "Like".  Pretty good.  In fact, this has been my most popular post by far - maybe not my best post but certainly the most widely distributed and viewed. I have come to the conclusion that it is the title that got the interest.  I am sure there are teenage boys looking for "R Rated Photos".  When I did a ...
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By Valerie Zinger, Home Organizer
(House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada)
 It is six months after the sale of the house and everyone has gone on with their lives.  Mark,the scallywag that he is, has moved out of his rental into a nice one bedroom condo in the downtown area.  While he gave Agent Valerie a tough time with the sale of his own home, he turned around and asked her to help him find the condo.   Along the way, Agent Valerie met Mark's new ‘friend', Darlene.  Mark kept calling her Darlin' Dar, which was more than a bit annoying.  Fortunately, the condo sale was a fast turnaround and within the six months the sale was completed and Mark and Dar installed in the condo.   Good luck to them, and kitty Minou, with their next purchase, probably with Agent Valerie and probably in the next year.  Yes, Dar and Minou are pregnant. Lou, once the sale was compl...
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By Valerie Zinger, Home Organizer
(House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada)
There is always a first time for everything.  Yesterday, I attended my first house auction.  Now, I could be tempted to buy things but buying a house at an auction wasn't on my or any of my clients' list.  A colleague asked me if I wanted to see the fun of an auction so off I went.  Here is what happened. The auction started at 10:00 AM on a Saturday The auctioneer was William Joynt from Smith Falls, Ontario (along with his crew) Anyone wishing to bid on the house or the household effects had to sign in and get a number You could pay for things with cash or recognized credit cards but payment had to be made right away You could take things with you or, if not able to lug home the furniture, the auctioneer and estate manager was willing to make arrangements for pick-up later in the day ...
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By Valerie Zinger, Home Organizer
(House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada)
Well, I was finally ready to get an ipad.  I have been reading the posts in Cheryl Ritchie's group - iPAD Realtor Apps.  I am pretty sure that I will use the machine and not just play solitaire (okay maybe a game or two but really, some business).  I could have bought one in Phoenix, but oh no, I wanted to get one closer to home (in case there were problems).  Now this week and with money in hand, I trotted off to the Apple store and to Best Buy (trotted via phone that is) and guess what - There are no ipad 2s sitting on the shelves waiting for me! Apparently UPS shows up mysteriously a couple of times a day at each Best Buy (and we have a few) and at the Apple store.  They may or may not drop off a machine or two.  It may or may not be the one I want.  It may or may not last on the she...
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By Valerie Zinger, Home Organizer
(House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada)
I have been waiting through this cold spring for the magnolia trees to burst into their amazing beauty.  Today, I took my camera to the Experimental Farm and there was one magnolia tree that inspired me.   Here are some of the photos that I took (collage made through Picasa3).  
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By Valerie Zinger, Home Organizer
(House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada)
One of the best things about living in the national capital is that the National Arts Centre hosts events that bring in talent from all across Canada.  Right now, there is a whole collage of artists being hosted in an event called Prairie Scene.  Now, I come from the prairies so was looking forward to seeing some talented 'home folk" and last night, I was not disappointed.  We went to see Jeffrey Straker.  His show was terrific.  The group included 5 members - Jeffrey on piano, a drummer, a bass guitarist/banjo player, Jeffrey's sister vocal and accordion (yes, accordion and she was not  a Lawrence Welk oldie) and a cellist.  WOW.  Jeffrey is from a small town in Saskatchewan.  I am from Saskatchewan.  Now that is where the similarities end.  He can sing and talk and entertain.  If you ...
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By Valerie Zinger, Home Organizer
(House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada)
I was doing an Open House at a home where the cat was a biter and loved to occasionally take a sharp nail swipe at anyone walking by her.  Did I mention that she loved to bite ankles and they did not feel like love bites?  The Sellers, knowing their cat was a problem, agreed to put the cat in the basement for the Open House.  Now, we all know that Open House visitors like to look everywhere.  I pictured the door to the basement opening, the cat leaping out and the Buyer getting a scratch and a bite.  YIKES.  I created a sign that I printed and hung over the doorknob to the basement.  No one - really and truly - no one opened the door without my being there and on the alert for that cat.  Here is the sign.   
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By Valerie Zinger, Home Organizer
(House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada)
On Sunday, in Chapter 12of the saga of House Seller Mark, I mentioned an email that Sellers could send out to friends and relatives letting them know that the house was for sale and their help selling it would be appreciated.  I received an email from an AR member asking if I could send her a sample.  I was happy to do this.  So, for those who wondered what that email would look like here is a really rough draft that would be tailored for the individual Seller's network, home, community, etc.  A couple of tips on this email:  Key - The email includes a call to action Key - Keep it short (no one reads long emails anymore) Key - Give a link to the MLS or add a colourful and factual feature sheet as an attachment Key - Make sure the Sellers indicate that you are the person to contact. Key...
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By Valerie Zinger, Home Organizer
(House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada)
House Sellers Mark and Lou finally had their home on the market.  Home Stager, Judy Klean, had planned and organized a fabulous remake inside the home.  Inspectors had arrived and left with excellent results - the Grow Op had not destroyed the house and all systems were in good shape.   A professional photographer had taken photos of each room and videos of the principle rooms.  The home looked and smelled good.  For her part, Agent Valerie had the home priced, agreement in place and the home listed with her sign in the lawn.   It was time to Let the Games Begin. As part of her marketing strategy, Valerie drafted an email for Mark and Lou to send out to all of their contacts - friends, relatives and neighbours.  In short the email said how sorry Mark or Lou was to be leaving the neighb...
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By Valerie Zinger, Home Organizer
(House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada)
According to Thomas Alva Edison "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."  When looking at increasing the value of your home do not be put off by extra work.  This means that you may have opportunities in your home to increase useable space and the value of the house but you need to do some work.  Maybe you will never swing a hammer but you will still need to plan, organize, direct and control the job.  The more time and effort you put into the job, the more likely you will be to get an increase in the value of your home.  Can you build a bedroom in the attic, a full washroom in the basement, or a wine cellar under the stairs?  Follow building codes.  Don't scrimp on materials.  Go for perfect and get permits if needed. Most real esta...
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By Valerie Zinger, Home Organizer
(House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada)
Back again.  Today's photos from my camera have been downloaded and now I can show you a spring 2011 photo (rather than going through the archives and hoping something would work).  I just felt so good to go for that long walk and search for signs of spring.  The tip that I learned at a course was to do as little cropping as possible and try to get the most in the original photo.  I missed a bit on this photo but that was what I was practicing today.
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By Valerie Zinger, Home Organizer
(House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada)
I would have been out with my camera yesterday but it was raining.  Sure the skys opened about 2:00 but by then I was busy and too lazy to go take photos of the crocuses, daffodils and early tulips that are now appearing.  So.....  I found a photo that I took last year that shows you what I would have seen if only the rain would stop long enough.  This photo was taken April 21, 2010 at the Experimental Farm.
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By Valerie Zinger, Home Organizer
(House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada)
When I was growing up, back in the days when dinosaurs walked the earth, my parents moved.  First they moved us across town, then to another city in the same province and then to another city in another province.  The first move was to get a house big enough for 3 children.  Then other moves were related to my father's career.  Do you think those moves were easy?  Absolutely not.  My mother set the moves into a context of adventure so that we would think there was fun involved.   But.....  It is never fun leaving your school and your friends, knowing that you may never see these friends again.  Sure, we got to pick wall colours (from the two choices that my mother liked); sure we got to stay in hotels waiting for possession of the house but....  You guessed it.  It was tough. Fast forw...
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By Valerie Zinger, Home Organizer
(House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada)
  As you drive across Canada, towns have chosen something to feature.  In Vegreville, Alberta, the town chose to build the world's biggest Easter Egg!  There is a large Ukrainian Canadian populations in this community and the Easter Egg is symbolic of some of their talents and culture.  Wikipidea has information about the Ukrainian eggs called Pysanka.  This photo is of someone standing in front of the egg.  It is HUGE.  Now that was some chicken!!!  HAPPY EASTER   Photo credit:  IMG_0272
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