Hanging Artwork is part of Staging a Home for Sale


Hanging Art Work is part of Home Staging

It’s fun to personalize interior walls with photos, posters and paintings. Here is what I suggest to make the hanging of artwork easy. Ask a helper to hold the artwork on the wall to position it. You generally want the art work low on the wall, just lower than half the wall height. When you are happy with the position mark the spot on the wall at the top of the frame with a pencil. Then turn the frame around and measure from the top of the frame to hanging wire pulled tight. Return to the wall and place two nails slightly apart at the same measurement down from your pencil mark. The second nail helps to keep the work from tilting. Easy!
Tip 1. Adding a small curl of masking tape behind the bottom two corners is another way to steady a painting.
Tip 2. Positioning is very important! Frames placed high on the wall have the effect of reducing  the ceiling height. Frames placed lower on the walls give the appearance of higher ceilings and add a spacious feel.
Tip 3. Consider the wall space dimension when choosing art work. Wide walls accentuate the horizontal and generally you would choose a wide art piece for the wide wall. High narrow walls accommodate vertical pieces. Above a fireplace you may choose a vertical art piece to emphasize the ceiling height and the strength of the fireplace. 
Tip 4. Hanging two or more art works is more challenging because you want the frames to line up and look even. First check that all the wire hangers are spaced equally from the top of the frame. Have a helper place the first or middle frame on the wall and mark it with a pencil. Mark the left and right side as well. Add the space between the frames and use the ceiling as your base measure to transfer the height for the additional frames on the left or right sides. A level is good but using the ceiling is often more pleasing to the eye.
Tip 5. Use professional hooks with thin nails and angled to securely hold art work. It makes the job easier. Adjustable hooks allow an up down movement using a screw mechanism. These are very useful when absolute accuracy is needed.

Jason’s Buyers Remorse on a First Home Purchase.

I recently talked with a new home buyer. He has many concerns for his family and his financial position. Like all major decisions there is uncertainty, but adequate expert opinion and up-to-date information should help to erase the anxiety.

Hi Jason,

Thanks for your message . Be sure to call your lawyer and get his take on the joint ownership matter. No need to wait if he has the info you asked for regarding the Condominium management portion of the property.

The best advice I could have offered back when the tech stocks were booming, had I known you then, would have been to buy real estate in Ottawa. I did this for myself and for my children over a period of many years beginning in 1989. We own four houses now and I’ve sold three . These investments have netted over a million dollars where as, my tech stocks lost more than a hundreds thousands dollars! You lost a lot of money in the stock decline, right? It hurts to loose hard earned money!

If is was 2005 I would have said the same thing. You were renting back then. The average value of a home was $244,000. Today the average price is $370,000. We are still talking about the average price home as back then! Value increase. It is a simple truth.

The house on Strongnet cost the sellers $248,716 on March 18, 2008 and the highest price paid for a unit with an additional bathroom in the first level was $349,000 this year. I’d suggest that buying real estate especially one you can live in is the first and most important step in wealth creation.

Do you recall I indicate that buying additional properties in the complex and rent them out would be smart if you had the down payment available? The true value of investment is apparent when you watch the investment grow year after year and the rent pays off the mortgage interest and principal. Taxation on a rental investment is favourable as well. There is simply not much choice land in the centre of Ottawa to build on. Land and housing will continue increase in value.

I predict your Strongnet  Pvt  investment will be valued at $600,000 in ten years; 2022. Seems improbable now but history has proved this to be true. I would have said the same of the current owners. Their house has increased in value nearly $100,000 in four years. Good investment! When you think about it, inflation has kept pace at about 2%. So you could make a reasonable judgement saying every year their investment increased $25,000 or about 10% per year. Renting is great if you need to buy time but you actually loose investment opportunity in a major way when you rent!

There really isn’t much holding back on finalizing your sale. Many many people are fearful when they purchase their first home. It is normal to feel that way. Ask your brother how he felt when he bought his first house. This home is a good personal and financial investment. After all, you can live in it and enjoy it, watch the community develop. You don’t have to worry about anything except walking away and loosing a great opportunity. This is a corner property and corner properties usually sell at a premium. I am absolutely certain someone else will buy it and you will have nothing. Move forward.

I’m available to talk with. Call me.

Best wishes,


Sell your Home with bright Spring Flowers

Students at Richard Pfaff Alternate school recall animated discussion on the notion that a florist may trade in fresh flowers but the commodity they sell is symbolic of Joy, Hope, Beauty and Happiness. Interesting thought! Few things are more beautiful than a bouquet of spring flowers. Green plants and flowers brighten a room and renew our connection with nature.

There is something about living plants that adds a finishing touch to a lovely room. They do the same for the exterior. Celebrate spring with bright annuals and rich perennials. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. A pot of pansies or marigolds will last the whole summer and brighten your outlook on life!

In real estate terms the landscaping is called curb appeal. The instant a Buyer arrives at your front door the quest to win their heart has begun. Thick grass with trim boarders and dense shrubery suggests a well cared for, healthy home. Cut flowers on the diningroom table suggest luxury and are a good way to capture the heart of your Buyer.

I’m photographed with a fresh shipment of Bromeliads and Ranunculus.

Living and lovin in Westboro with Whitney Houston

How will I know what house is best for me… after Whitney Houston’s balad. Remember that great tune? Living and lovin in Westboro

So often I hear this question be it first time buyers or downsizing Moms and Dads. We all have likes and dislikes but there are some fundamental homes features that reach out and seize the buyer’s heart saying take me I’m all yours forever and forever! Yes it’s like falling in love… everything works … the house is right in every respect; it’s home. How will I know?

Finding the right house is discovering you feel well in the house, feeling good. Fact is it is more an emotion judgment than it is a list of attributes. Course, lot size, mature trees, maintenance free, garage, bedrooms, bathrooms, grand room, chef’s kitchen and granite countertops will all help convince the heart of stone but the truth is when we the feel the light, the laughter, the warmth and the potential for happiness that is a house worth living in! celebrate.

One of the features I like in a good home is the ability to move freely about in different directions as if you were chasing the dog from room to room, going round and round and finally stop and run the opposite direction to catch it. Having a central wall or staircase with rooms distributed around the core. That feature offers privacy and easy access in a small living surface. I love sunlight streaming through the kitchen windows and the bathrooms alike. Imagine enjoying a shower with the shower curtains brilliantly illuminated with sunlight! Glorious.

Another factor that helps to reveal a superior home is asking the question how would the house contribute to an evening party? If people can circulate from the kitchen to the living room and access the bathrooms easily, if they can come into the home and go outside to the garden terrace easily then the party will be successful. Just have to add you and your friends.

Use this measure and you found a good house.
I hear Whitney Houston’s song like this: How will I know? I’m asking you cus you know about these things… I think; Let me help you find your dream home cus I know about these things.

Turn up the volume! Click to listen to Whitney first video of How Will I Know.

Another Episode of Watch Your Money!

Fraud Watch: Count Your Money  Episode 2

This just in. It’s a true story about one  of my clients who’s Ottawa home I recently sold. People in the habit of receiving cash directly for the bank teller take note; Count your money!

Here’s the scenario. Senior gentleman regularly visits the bank just before 10 am to receive $400 cash from the teller. He likes to exchange a word with the young teller. He likes the attention. She smiles and counts out the cash, compiles it, and with a tap she passes the withdrawal to the client. She smiles, makes eye contact. She wishes him a good afternoon. She knows he is in the habit of placing the money directly into his wallet without counting. He smiles and leaves the bank.
This scene repeats itself week after week and the senior is happy to wait for his favourite teller to serve him, in fact he knows her work schedule so that he can make his withdrawals on her shift. He loves to see her friendly smile. It makes his day!

Yesterday, the senior receives a call from the bank manager asking him to come into the branch office for a special meeting. The manager sits across from his big desk and tells the senior gentleman that a teller has been flagged.  She has been shorting changing customers. The manager calculates $1,400 is owing!
Incredulous, the senior refuses to accept that he has been defrauded of any money. He’s concerned his favourite teller will be dismissed or worse yet, face a jail term. Only after the manager describes in detail each occurrence with dates and amounts withheld does the gentleman begin to accept the deceit. It’s all on video says the manager. This incident has been kept within house by the manager so that it doesn’t go public and draw attention to the bank name, at least so far. Corporate image to protect, know what I mean?

The bank manager offers the senior a cheque for $1,400 to cover his shortfall. Makes you think differently about the automatic bank teller. I thought they were more likely to miss a twenty here and there. In fact the automatic tellers have an accuracy of 99.9 % and they deliver 24 – 7. But, the smile is missing!
So why then do I count the bills I get from the automatic teller and not those I receiver from the human teller? Watch the video and watch your money!

Real Estate Marketing Knowledge

Today I attended an all day real estate seminar relating to marketing on the internet. We had a guest flown in from Seattle, Washington to give us his view on where business the of marketing is going in the future. I found it interesting and valuable.

There are so many ways to have an Ottawa house listings appear on the internet market. Of course there is the MLX and my personal web site but I didn’t think of using Twitter, Active Rain, Craigs List and Facebook to spotlight a home or community. Interesting that when these additional marketing tools are used there is a strong likleyhood that Google and Yahoo search engines will also show the links to the house soon after the property is listed. So this marketing management has a life of it’s own to in effect raise or magnify the presence of an Real estate Agent. This is good news for Ottawa Buyers and Sellers

The proper use of Keyworks, addresses, and community infromation works creates a presence on the web that helps Buyers find the listing first. The use of photos and especially short Video clips to showcase the home and community are very important in the ranking of websites.

This week I’m listing a home on Crownhill in Cardinal Heights. I’ve know of this home since I was a Boy Scout in 1968! Imagine the house selling back then for about $16,000. Doesn’t seem like a lot of money now but back then it was the average price of a house in Ottawa. The average price of a home in Cardinal Heights today is about $280,000.

We’ve had stagers into the home to help prepare the house for the listing day. The Staging began with an appraisal of the personal furnishings that could be used for display in the house. Then almost everything was packed and moved to the garage for storage while the walls were painted. Next the carpets were cut rolled up removed to reveal good maple hardwood floors. The floors have been prepared and shine. The windows have been cleaned. The next stage is to return the furniture to the house and decorate in a manner that 90% of the target Buyers will like the house and seriously consider buying the house. There is a science to back this up and it increased the price of the home and reduces the number of days on the market. In short it means more money for the Seller.

This staging is to no use if no one see the house! That’s why this course we attended today is so valuable. It helps to showcase the home on the internet which by the way is where 84% of Buyers go to shop for a house for sale in Ottawa.

The One Sign Rule in Ottawa

Thoughtful Agent in Ottawa Comments: The one sign rule in Ottawa.

There is a rule in the Ottawa Real Estate Board that states that only one company can place real estate sign on a property at a time. There is an injustice in this! I’ll tell you why…

Current research shows that most Buyers find the home they buy through some action provided by a licensed real estate professional. The for sale sign is a very important part of announcing to the community that a house is “For Sale”. But there is a lot of activity taking place to back up the sale of the home and ultimately sell it. What really happens?

The listing agent draws up a contract with the owner to list the house at a specific price for a period of time. Information is gathered on the property and the “Listing” is then placed on the MLX® or Multiple Listing Exchange. The MLX® is an Internet based listing of houses, apartments, and businesses used exclusively for licensed real estate professionals to advertise the features of home and community. Incidentally the MLS® or Multiple Listing Service is the daughter of the MLX® and is available to the public. It has greatly reduced information but nonetheless, describes the property just as an ad in a magazine would provide highlights to draw attention to the property and attract an interested buyer.

The Buying agent represents the important counterpoint in the buying and selling transaction. The Buying agent is considered the selling side in the transaction. It’s almost an oxymoron of terms! The Buying agent provides the service of investigating the value of the property and advising the buyer of important details and to suggest a strategy for the offer and purchase contract.

When the sale is finalized the buyer is delighted and the seller too. The sold sign pops up and the public thinks the the company on the sign was the agent who did all the work! What happened to the agent who represented the buyer? No sign for them! In a business that is fundamentally built on sales and public trust, networking and public perception is extremely important to future business. The one sign rule greatly disadvantages the buying agent. Perhaps this is why there are communities where house sales seem to be dominated by one company. Perhaps this is the reason why some communities allow both listing and selling agent to post their signs for all to see. Wouldn’t that be a change!

Trademarks are owned or controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate

professionals who are members of CREA (REALTOR®) and/or the quality of services they provide (MLS®)

Community Newsletter, A David and Goliath parallel?

https://martinelder.ca/ Thoughtful Agent in Ottawa comments:
I’m pleased with results of my community newsletter. I sent out several thousand copies first week of January and there were 5 responses asking for information. Two became appointments to place a value on a house and offer staging suggestions. I think that’s great! Helping people. Serving people. “Selling Fine Homes, Building Community” That’s what it’s all about.

One response was not expected. It came to me in the form of an official complaint from a real estate professional . The complaint was that houses shown for sale or sold were misleading! Misleading because it suggests that I sold or listed the homes and not the company; Keller Williams Ottawa. Odd conclusion! Every agent knows that a listing falls under the watchful eye of the Broker of Record; the legal entity of each office. And we sold or listed each of the homes depicted.

This complaint was filed at the Ottawa Real Estate Board but they have returned it because they feel it is the jurisdiction of the Real Estate Council of Ontario. If they feel false advertising has occurred they have the authority to hand out fines of up to $25,000. It is a serious offense to knowingly disregard the code of ethics.

So what will I do? If I’ve incorrectly placed photos of houses in my news letter then I’ll gladly change that part. I like to do things right. On the other hand if there is nothing wrong than this can be attributed to the actions of a bully trying to intimidate a fellow real estate professional. Well I think that’s a shame! A true David and Goliath story. My next newsletter comes out in February 07, 2009. I watch and listen for Goliath prowling!