Yuriy Kayda

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More fires start in the kitchen than in any other room. Those fires can be expensive; since even a minor incident, with no injuries, can result in significant damage. That’s why it’s important to keep up with the latest in fire prevention.

 

The most recent research tells us:

          1. Never leave cooking food unattended. Doing so is the number one cause of kitchen fires.


          2. Make sure cooking appliances, especially deep fryers, are safety certified by the appropriate government agency.


          3. When using oil in a frying pan, always heat slowly at no more than a medium heat setting.

         

          4. Always turn off stove burners and other cooking appliances immediately after cooking.


          5. Never attempt to put out a grease fire with water. Use baking soda or a fire extinguisher.


          6. Never remove or cover up a smoke detector due to nuisance alarms. The one alarm that isn’t a nuisance may save your life.


Finally, experts say that if you can’t put out a fire immediately, get everyone out of the home and call emergency services.

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As you’re probably aware, the list price you set for your property has an impact on how quickly it sells — and how much you earn on the sale.

 

What you may not realize is just how significant an impact it has. Consider the following examples.

 

Example 1:

You price your property well above its current market value. As a result, many buyers don’t bother to see it because it’s outside of their price range. Those who do see it are confused by the high price tag, (and may even be suspicious.) They may wonder, “What’s going on?”

 

In this scenario, the home will likely languish on the market for weeks or even months. You might even have to lower the price dramatically to re-ignite interest.

 

Example 2:

You price your property just a couple of percentage points lower than what is necessary to gain the interest of qualified buyers. That might not seem like much of a problem. How much can a couple of percentage points matter?

 

Those points matter a lot.

 

On a $400,000 property, pricing your home just 2% lower than necessary could cost you $8,000 on the sale. That’s a serious amount of money!

 

So, as you can see, pricing your home right is serious business. Fortunately, a good REALTOR® knows how to set the right price.

 

Looking for a good REALTOR®? Call today.
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It’s early in the evening and there’s a knock on the door.


You answer and are greeted by an official-looking man who claims he needs to see your utility bill to confirm you’re getting your energy rebate.


Do you let him in?


While he may be legitimate, he may also be using deception to sell you something you don’t want. Here are some suggestions for finding out:

  • Ask for a business card. Then, check if it has an address, phone number and website. If the salesperson refuses or just shows you his ID card (which anyone can fake), that’s a red flag.
  • Ask for the name of his employer. Sometimes salespeople will say they “represent the phone company”. That doesn’t mean they actually work for it.
  • Ask if you can call his company to confirm details before buying. If he refuses, or says the office is closed, shut the door.
  • Ask if you can consider the offer and call the office the next day to place your order.
  • If you’re really suspicious, ask him to come back later. Then, call the non-emergency police number. Police are aware of common scams in the area.

Most importantly, use your common sense. Door-to-door salespeople can be pretty persuasive, but if something doesn’t seem right to you, trust your gut. Say, “No thanks.”


Of course, if everything checks out with the salesperson, and the offer is a good one, consider taking advantage of it.
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Is your home office the dining room table? Is it anywhere you can sit down undisturbed with your laptop? If so, you might be interested in converting a room or nook into a dedicated home office. Depending on what you do for a living, there could be a tax advantage to creating this space too.

 

The first step is to pick a spot. Ideally, you want an area where you can work without too many distractions.

 

Next, make sure the spot you’ve chosen can accommodate a desk and any other furnishings you’ll need. Think about what you want within easy reach of your work area. Will you need a place for books and other papers? An extra chair for client meetings? A flipchart? A filing cabinet? Think about all of the options in advance.

 

Then, you’ll want to make sure the spot you picked has the electrical outlets you need, especially if you’re going to have a printer, special lighting, a computer and other items that need power.

 

Finally, you’ll want your home office to be a place where you can enjoy working. So decorate it with that in mind. If you like plants, get plants. If you enjoy golf, have your golf trip pictures hanging on the wall.

 

With a little work, you can quickly create a home office space that is comfortable, functional and enjoyable. It sure beats the dining room!
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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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Next to your home and car, home furnishings represent the most expensive product purchases homeowners make. A mid-quality living room 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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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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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 want to be closer to family.


- 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.


- 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 604-765-1487
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No matter how much you love your current property, you may be dreaming of the day you can buy up into a better home in a better neighbourhood.


Is that day today, or, is it a few years down the road?


Here’s a quick way to make that assessment.


First, make a list of all the practical reasons why it might be time to move up. Those reasons might include features such as: more bedrooms, proximity to work and school, a larger backyard with trees, nearby parks and walking paths and better access to things you enjoy like theatre.


Next, make a list of the emotional reasons for making such a move. Those reasons might include memorable get-togethers with friends on a more spacious deck, an easier and less stressful commute to work, more family time with the kids and enjoyable Saturday golf at a nearby course.


Finally, take a financial snapshot to determine if you can afford to move up. You’ll need to get a good idea of what your current property will sell for in today’s market, average price of homes in your desired neighbourhood, and how much mortgage you’ll need.


Once you have all that down on paper, you’ll have a clear picture of your readiness. If the practical and emotional reasons for buying up are compelling, and you can afford to make the move, then you have your answer.


The time is now!


By the way, if you need help in making this determination – especially figuring out what your home will likely sell for, call today.

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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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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:

 

  1. Clean every room. Make your entire house look as “guest ready” as possible.
  2. As much as is feasible given the time, reduce clutter. Consider packing some items into boxes and storing them in the basement or garage.
  3. 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.
  4. Turn on the lights, even during the day. You want each room to look bright.
  5. 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.
  6. Open the curtains, except in those rooms where the sun will be uncomfortably strong during the viewing.
  7. Move your vehicles from the driveway so the buyer can park there. (That can help them imagine living there, which is what you want!)
  8. Make sure your foyer is especially clean and uncluttered. It’s the first “room” the buyer visits.
  9. 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.)
  10. 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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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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Hopefully, this will never happen to you. But, there are circumstances – a fire, for example – when you and your family would need to exit through a window.

 

It pays to be prepared for that eventuality.

 

Your first step is to determine which windows are safe to use as an exit. There should be at least one on each level.

 

The windows you select will need to provide enough space for a person to climb through (at least a 20 inch opening). Make sure everyone knows which windows are “safe exit” windows, and how to open them. Keep in mind that windows may have screens, so ensure everyone knows how to remove those as well.

 

For a second floor window, consider purchasing a portable escape ladder. These are compact and easily stowed in a closet or under a bed. When you need it, it hangs off the sill and expands into a ladder all the way to the ground. It’s not designed for everyday use, but it will get you and your family out!

 

Rehearsal is a good idea. You want everyone to know how to get to the nearest “safe exit” window – especially in the dark.

 

Finally, keep your windows in a good state of repair. According to the National Fire Safety Association, windows should open easily for everyone, and should not have anything in front of them that will prevent or delay a quick exit.

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Watch any TV cooking show, and you’ll notice that a chef’s kitchen looks quite a bit different than what you’d find in most homes. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t have one just like it in your home! With a little remodeling, and splurging on some new items, you too can have a kitchen worthy of Gordon Ramsey, Jamie Oliver, or Rachel Ray.

 

Chefs love counter space. So, when remodeling, plan to create as much as possible. If you have an existing island, for example, you can replace the countertop with a larger one. Just adding eight inches in both directions will make a big difference.

          

Most chefs have more than one oven. If that’s impractical for you, consider buying a double-oven stove. Also, chefs prefer gas burners for quicker heat-up times and exacting control of cooking temperature.

 

One thing you’ll notice about chefs is they love stainless steel.
That’s because it’s easy-to-clean, hygienic and durable (assuming you take care of it).

 

Finally, because chefs spend so much time in the kitchen, they want the space to be attractive and comfortable. So, when remodeling, keep decor

in mind.

 

Even if you’re just an amateur chef, creating a chef-worthy kitchen will make the foodie in you smile.

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Some people don’t give hallways much thought when painting and decorating. Instead, they focus on rooms.

 

The fact is, a great looking hallway can have the same, if not more, impact than the most eye-catching family room or bedroom, especially when you need to go through the hallway to get there!

 

Here are some painting tips that can bring a dull hallway to life:

 

- Paint the hallway the reverse of the rooms around it. If the rooms are dark, use light colours in the hall. If the rooms feature simple colours, consider being more dramatic in your choice of hallway paint.

 

- In a longer hallway, using two shades of the same colour on perpendicular walls can make the space seem less tunnel-like. (The darker shade goes on the shorter walls.)

 

- Darker colours can work well if the space is well-lit and there are few, if any, shadows cast.

 

- If you decide to paint the halls white, select an off-white or eggshell white. Avoid stark white as it will reflect light in a way that’s unpleasant.

 

One more tip: Pictures can go a long way in making a hallway look inviting, regardless of the wall colour.

 

Good luck with the painting!

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Imagine buying a product from a store, taking it home, and then discovering there’s a problem with it. Disappointing, yes, but not a catastrophe. You can simply take it back for repair or exchange.

 

But, what if it’s moving day, and you discover there’s a problem with your new home? Whoa. A house isn’t so easily returned!

 

What are the most common problems encountered on moving day?

 

  • A delay in getting the keys.

 

  • The seller not having completely moved out.

 

  • An item expected to be included with the property is missing. (For example, the window blinds.)

 

  • Something needs repair that was not disclosed by the seller, nor did it come up during inspection. (For example, the dishwasher not working.)

 

  • Damage to the property caused by the seller. (For example, a heavy item dropped during the move and cracking a floor tile.)

 

Fortunately, these are rare events. In most cases, you can expect no serious issues when you move into your new home.

 

But, if something is wrong, you have options. So, call me immediately. In all likelihood, I will be able to quickly resolve the issue.

 

If it’s a serious matter, such as missing items, I may get your real estate lawyer involved to arrange for the return of the item(s) or compensation.

 

So don’t worry. Let the professionals handle it. You can just enjoy your new home!

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In almost every movie featuring a house on fire, the actors seem to be able to move around the house and see just fine, while beating back flames with a shirt or coat. Of course, that’s not what happens in real fires.

 

When there’s fire in a home, there is typically complete darkness (because the power goes out) and a cloud of spreading thick, black smoke makes it difficult to see and breathe.

 

That’s why knowing how to get out of your house — fast — is crucial.

 

Experts recommend rehearsing what to do in case there’s a fire. Make sure everyone in the family has an exit plan. Each should know exactly how to get out, including primary and secondary exits, and where the family will meet once safely outside.

 

Never attempt to take anything with you. It may seem like you have plenty of time to grab a coat or purse, but the characteristics of a fire can change in seconds.

 

As a failsafe, in case you can’t exit through a door, you should determine in advance which window has the safest exit. Make sure that the window opens easily and everyone knows how to remove the screen or any other obstruction.

 

Finally, don’t call the fire department from inside your house. Get out first, then make the call.

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No one wants to deal with a burglary. How do you reduce the chances of one happening? Fortunately, burglaries are a well-studied phenomenon — especially by law enforcement. These studies have identified specific things you can do to cut the risk dramatically. Here are some ideas:
 
• 34% of home break-ins occur through the front door. Experts
recommend investing in a door with a top-quality locking mechanism.
(The best are those that lock at three points of contact.)
 
• 50% of burglars will be deterred if your home has some sort of video
monitoring system. A thief doesn’t want his face on YouTube!
 
• Unfortunately, signs and window stickers warning of an alarm system do not deter thieves. However, 62% of burglars will immediately runaway when an alarm goes off. Always turn on your alarm system when you’re not home!
 
• 22% of burglaries occur through a sliding glass door or patio door.
Make sure it’s locked and also use a solid metal jammer.
 
• Some thieves use frequency scanners to gain access to garages.
Police recommend changing your remote entry code regularly and
putting blinds or curtains on garage windows so thieves can’t see
(and be tempted by) any valuables inside.
 
As you can see, there are many simple things you can do to reduce your chances of a burglary dramatically. The effort is worth it.
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Determining if you should buy a new home or fix up your current one isn’t easy. In fact, the decision can be steeped in so much drama they make reality TV shows about it!

So if you’re considering whether to move or improve, here are three things to consider.

1. Will a renovation truly fix what you don’t like about your property?

If you’re tired of a small kitchen, for example, it might not be possible, given the layout, to make it any bigger. On the other hand, if you’re craving a spacious rec room with a cosy fireplace then a renovation could make that happen.

Of course, there are some things you may want that aren’t specific to your house, such as an easier commute or nearby park. Those are features you may only be able to get by moving.

2. How much will a renovation cost? How does that compare to the cost of moving to a new home?

It’s important to get accurate estimates of each so you can make a smart decision. This is where a good REALTOR® can help.

Keep in mind that renovations have a habit of costing more than you originally anticipate. As mentioned earlier, the final result should be a home you want to stay in for quite some time.

3. Beware of compromising versus settling.

Whichever decision you make — renovate or sell — you can expect to have to make at least some compromises. That’s normal.

For example, consider adding an extension to your house. That’s a major renovation. Is it the ideal way to get the extra room you want? Do the benefits of renovating outweigh the benefits of finding a new larger home designed to include the space you need?

 

Yes, it’s a tough decision. If you’re in the midst of making it, call today, to get the facts you need to make the best choice for you.

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There are few things more beautiful than cut flowers in a vase. They instantly brighten any room. That is, of course, until they wilt and die. So how do you make cut flowers last as long as possible? Here are some ideas:

•    Cut the bottom of the stems before you put the flowers in the vase. An angled cut is best as this will enable the flower to draw in more water.

•    Add a fertilizer to the water. Most flower shops include a pouch with the order. Follow the directions carefully. Don’t use too much.

•    Make sure the vase is high enough to support the flowers. Too much strain on the stems will cause the flowers to die sooner.

•    After a couple of days, re-snip the stems. This will add an additional day or two to the life of the flowers.

•    Flowers last longer if you put them in the fridge (in water) overnight. That’s why florists store cut flowers in cool rooms.

Finally, watch the water level and top off as required. Older cut flowers will die quickly when starved of water — even for just a couple of hours.

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The data relating to real estate on this website comes in part from the MLS® Reciprocity program of either the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) or the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board (CADREB). Real estate listings held by participating real estate firms are marked with the MLS® logo and detailed information about the listing includes the name of the listing agent. This representation is based in whole or part on data generated by either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB which assumes no responsibility for its accuracy. The materials contained on this page may not be reproduced without the express written consent of either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB.