Last Tuesday was a wonderful sunny and warm day. I went for a walk with my camera to try to capture some of my favourite spring flowers. There were: magnolia buds on a tree; tulips (so late this year but what an opportunity to photograph them); iris flowers just starting to appear; lilacs with that wonderful lilac smell that is so sweet but cannot be photographed; a big headed poppy, peonies and, finally, a lawn ornament that needed to be caged for this collage.
If you are having as much rain as we are today, I hope you enjoy this collage and the reminder of all that spring that be.
I just read that there are 119,000 federal government jobs in the Ottawa Gatineau region. Well, that has made up for some pretty steady employment figures in the area. But, being the Capital of Canada, is not all about government. I have been here for almost 15 years and these are some of the things that I have notices and, in most cases, learned to love:
- Public transportation is used by everyone – from the store clerk to the Assistant Deputy Ministers in federal departments. As long as the buses run, people will use them. People – not me.
- Someone holding a small brown paper bag is not hiding a mickey of gin but eating a bag of french fries. I guess the bag keeps them hot longer.
- There are miles / kilometers of bike paths and running trails and Ottawans likes to be outside.
- Ottawa is at the border of Ontario and Quebec. There is a very large French speaking population and a large public service population exercising their right to use both official languages.
- Ottawa is old and in love with bricks. The architecture is interesting. You have to go out to the suburbs to find stucco.
- Canada Day (July 1st) is HUGE in Ottawa. It is an all day event on Parliament Hill. We love to celebrate Canada’s Birthday.
- It only takes 2 hours to be in downtown Montreal – shopping heaven.
- Ottawa is a safe city. With all of those embassies and ambassadors, the level of security from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police is very high.
- Finally, Old Dutch Potato Chips are available in Ottawa.
- The humidex in the summer could knock you out. The weather is extreme in winter and in summer.
- The mosquitoes here are humidity drunk. It takes them a while to decide to bite you – unlike Manitoba mosquitoes that are stealth bomber biters.
- The Laurentian mountains are not too far away but having been to the Rockies, well, say no more.
- Snowbirds here go to Florida. In the prairies, they go to Arizona.
- You have to have 2 license plates for your car – front and back – or risk a ticket.
- I am finally used to east coast salmon but, really, Pacific salmon is so much better.
Finally, it doesn’t matter where you live if you have friends and belong to the community. East or west, north or south, cold or hot, snow or rain -
Home is where the heart is.
Photo credit: Parliament I chose this photo because it shows the tops of the Parliament Buildings, a bridge, a little bit of the Art Gallery AND tulips. This is the last weekend of the Tulip Festival and today is going to be a gorgeous day to see tulips.
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. That spider was waiting for lunch and I was wanting to sit and read on the verandah. Imagine the skill it took to weave that web!
Arachnophobia could cause “your-house-aphobia”.
Photo credit: Oh, what tangled webs we weave.
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
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.
Attending My First House Auction (edit/delete) 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 or week.
- Unlike some rural auctions where the land goes first, in this case all of the household effects were sold first.
- Do you know that some things are not worth even a dollar? When no one would bit, the auctioneer added another box of things.
- Very few things went for over a few dollars except some of the furniture and a couple of antique glass items.
- The house was going up for bid after 12 noon so about that time a few men showed up that looked like Realtors or property developers.
- The man sitting next to me on the retaining wall had given an early CMA on the property. We started to chat and he missed getting the listing by a few days. Sigh for him.
- I told him that I thought the reserved bid would be around $400,000 but that the place could go as high as $600,000. It was my own wag (wild a– guess).
- There was very little bidding as the auctioneer started at an extremely high price. He kept going down until he got to around $600,000. I believe there were one or two bids. The successful bidder got the home and land (corner lot 100′ X 90′) for under $650,000.
- This was not a sale through a real estate brokerage. No commission was going to be paid to agents with buyers. I bet, if I drive by that location in 18 months, there will be three or four townhomes built on the property and each will be selling for around $800,000. Why? The house was in a VERY desirable neighbourhood and the home sitting on the property was very old and in very bad shape. The sale was for the land and the highest and best use is multiple units.
What fun!!! You don’t have to buy to live vicariously.
Now, for the next auction, I might just sign in and get a paddle or number.
My company, Royal LePage, is one of the sponsors of this year’s Movies on the Beach & In the Park Under the Stars.
The schedule is as follows:
June 24th – Kanata Walter Baker Park
July 8th – Westboro Beach
July 22nd – Petrie Island
August 5th – South Nepean Park (Barrhaven)
August 19th – Mooney’s Bay
On average, over 1,000 people come out to each event to watch a movie under the stars!
The movie is choosen by the radio listeners to the hosting radio stations, BOB FM and Majic 100. It is a fun event, the right price and a way to get out and enjoy the Ottawa summer.
Mark your calendars! Bring a blanket and popcorn.
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 – Try to include something personal in the email and, if possible, a line for the recipient like: Now that we are leaving, will you finally share your secret for growing chrysanthemums.
I hope this sample email helps Sellers with marketing their home.
Oops – my proofreading skills are bad. I missed the word “this” in the last line of the email. I apologize.