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Being on bad terms with your neighbors can be daunting. When you establish good relations with your neighbors, your community will be safer, and your neighborhood will be a friendlier, more enjoyable place to live. Here is a list of ways to be the very best neighbor, and how to deal with the difficult ones.
- Introduce yourself! Whether you're the new kid on the block or a seasoned owner, it’s never too late to break the ice with a simple “Hi”! Not sure how to start a convo? Ask how their children are; who has the best take-out; when is garbage pick-up; or offer some fresh carrots from your garden. Homemade banana bread makes a great welcome gift too. Not into baking? Bring over a bottle of wine!
- Do a Favor. If you have a snow blower and they don't, take an extra 5 minutes to clear their sidewalk or driveway. This small gesture will save them 60 minutes of hard work and they'll be grateful!
- Throw a party. How about an annual block party? Make it an easy potluck where everyone can meet the new neighbors, and there’s no stress on having to entertain anyone. Low key gatherings are often the most fun!
- Curb Appeal. You don’t want to be that house on the street that drags down the value of your block. Keep your lawn mowed, exterior of your house maintained, and your yard free of junk. Try to keep unruly branches on your side of the fence, rather than hanging over onto their property.
- Practice parking etiquette. When parking your vehicle, try not to block anyone's driveway or make them have to pull out of a tight spot. Park in front of your house, not theirs.
- Control and clean up after your pets. Keep your pet on a leash if it has a habit of running onto your neighbors lawns to do its business. If you have a particularly noisy dog, this could become a source of contention for your neighbor. No one wants to wake up to a yapping dog!
- It’s not an issue until it’s an Issue. If you’re hosting a party, visit your neighbors ahead of time and offer them two things: An invitation to your event, and a card with your phone number. If the noise escalates or there is a situation, your neighbor can call you instead of the authorities.
- Communicate. If you have a concern with your neighbor, calmly discuss it with them as they likely have no idea what the problem is. Be ready to compromise when you discuss these concerns.
- Log the problem. When a concern arises, document times, dates, and photos if necessary. When seeing this on paper, it can give you a different perspective on seriousness, and also give accurate information to your neighbor. If you end up contacting the police, this will show that you’re organized, serious, and not just whiny.
As with any relationship, being a good neighbor – or dealing with a bad one – is all about communication.
You’ve decided to sell your home, and want to start the preparation. Many of our buyers are millennials and it’s favorable for your home to appeal to a “younger crowd”. Young home buyers are looking for space. They like open concept living areas with large islands, or taller tables where they can gather around when entertaining guests. Have you considered playing up open spaces and illustrating that your home is great for socializing and for hosting gatherings? Often these young families are busy, and the kitchen is the gathering point not only for entertaining, but also crafts and homework. Bar stools tucked under an island take up very little space and offer extra seating when needed in pinch.
Let’s make it functional. Installing shelving near electrical outlets can create convenient charging stations for devices such as phones and Ipads. Place a few hooks by the entrance for a quick, organized dismount of jackets and backpacks. We want your home to be family friendly, so if it doesn’t have a fenced backyard for littles ones, consider including maps of nearby playgrounds!
Now that we are going into our favorite season, Summer, how about working on your curb appeal? Power wash the exterior, clean the windows inside and out, and make sure the sidewalks are in good condition. Find your green thumb and plant just a few baskets out front to add some color! Don’t forget about emphasizing your deck with furniture and maybe some outdoor throw cushions. If you live in a condo and only have a tiny deck, you can still optimize that space with a small bistro table and chairs. Throw on a colorful tablecloth with some matching dishes, or a vase full of flowers and you are good to go!
Lastly, clean. Your home must be clean! Once you’ve wiped down baseboards and ledges, make sure that the floors are clean and in good shape. If your carpet is stained, it may be worthwhile renting a carpet cleaner and giving your flooring a good once-over. Find balance between clean and lived-in. All of the clutter should be organized or ideally packed away neatly, but we also want some nice personal touches. Items like freshly cut flowers make great centerpieces. Put counter top appliances away and replace them with a fresh bowl of season fruit or lemons. This will not only brighten your space, but it can create a wonderful natural scent that isn’t overpowering.
When we hit our hot temperatures, it is imperative that your home’s interior is nice and cool for potential buyers. If buyers are sweating while walking through the house they are not going to be happy. They may question what state of repair you’re A/C is in, and they may calculate that into their offer. Keep it comfortable, we don’t want it to feel like we’re stepping into a walk-in cooler either. If your home doesn’t have central air, simply open some windows for those days that are just unbearably hot.
If you are looking for more advice on staging, contact your REALTOR® who can give you some additional tips or refer you to a professional home stager.
Good luck, and happy selling!
Spring Home Buying Season Is Here!
After months, maybe years of saving up, you’ve finally decided to take the next step and purchase your first home. This can be a scary, yet exciting time for you, but it’s important to never let the anticipation of being a first-time home buyer get in the way of making crucial decisions in the buying process.
One of the most important steps is to get pre-approved from a mortgage lender, and be honest with them. Allow them to perform a credit check, and determine if there are any problems identified with your score. If there are any issues, you will have time to repair these in order to clean up your score. This will help with the approval process and it may allow you to qualify for a better interest rate. If you are thinking of making any large purchases on credit such as a new vehicle or furniture, it’s best to wait until after your purchase as this can impact your approval. There’s nothing more disappointing than putting an offer on the home you love, only to find out you don’t qualify for a mortgage!
Once you are pre-approved for a mortgage, determine what you can actually afford and know which homes are within your reach. No one wants to be house poor, and this will make your search significantly more effective. When calculating your budget, include all additional costs, such as insurance, property taxes, rainy day fund, etc. You are required to have at least 5% of the purchase price available, however, the more you put down, the lower your payments will be. Some banks will even lend your down payment in a separate 5-year term, which can come in extremely handy!
You are likely going into the home buying market with an idea of what your needs and wants are. Separating needs from wants will narrow down your search for a more effective home buying process in a market with an abundance of new listings. If you are considering a new area to live in, ask your REALTOR® about local matters such as schools, new developments, sewer/water infrastructure, and other issues that may be of importance to you. Learn more about these neighborhoods by visiting at different times, either a drive by, or a walk to get a better grasp about traffic, potential neighbors, proximity to grocery stores, etc.
Look at many houses to get a feel for the market and see what your dollar will get you. Home buying should be a fun, exciting time whether you are purchasing your first home, upgrading, or downsizing. Good Luck!
Go to the bank, get approved, and have some fun shopping for your first home!
Why Isn’t My House Sold?
People decide to sell their homes for a variety of reasons including upsizing for a growing family, downsizing for empty nesters, or perhaps a career change that is adjusting your budget.
Your house has been on the market for a while with many showings but no offers, so now what? What if your listing contract comes to an end, and your home is still not sold?
The easy thing to do is blame the REALTOR® for not selling your home. But in reality, you did not hire the Realtor® to just sell your property. You hired the Realtor® to help YOU sell your property as a team. So let’s look at what you should review to ensure success moving forward. Before you burn bridges and throw your and their investment away, you should:
Review the efforts of your Realtor® – If your agent presented you a marketing plan along with a promise of solid effort and good communication, did they deliver on those commitments? Did they say they would take professional looking photos or did they walk around with their iPhone snapping poor quality pictures? Choose an agent who is hard working, and don’t necessarily choose the busiest agent. You want one who will have the time to promote your property and answer all inquiries on it. Choose one who is professional, demonstrates proper negotiating skills, and is punctual.
Review the price – A home is often the largest single investment most people make in their lives. Therefore it makes sense to try to maximize that investment for the highest price possible. “Possible” does not mean that you get to decide that your house will only sell for top dollar; “the market” will decide what your home is worth. Even though you put a high value on your house, a high price will keep it on the market without getting picked up.
Factors that affect market value are the economy, as well as supply and demand. It will also take into consideration how your house compares to others. Your Realtor® will be able to provide you with the data to make a price determination but in the end, it’s what the buyer is willing to pay.
Revisit your marketable product – When you have lived in a home for a while, it’s easy to overlook any flaws. Let’s be honest, we all do that. The chipped paint on a wall or worn carpet doesn’t affect your overall enjoyment of the home. So why should it affect a buyer? The fact is, buyers choose what they can overcome or not. And, the more they add up the cost of little fixes, the less likely they are to choose a property. Try simple things like a fresh coat of paint, and make sure the bathroom and kitchen are clean, and have modern hardware.
Re-examine your presentation – Go back to your Realtor’s® advice they gave you. I understand that you have lived in your home for a long time and it’s comfortable, but put away family treasures so that potential buyers see the home as theirs and not yours. Clutter, personal tastes, smells, and design may be hindering your efforts to sell.
Review your own decisions – Buying and selling a home are investments that involve a lot of money, and we often get lost in the emotional side of the transaction. We get emotional about the value, about maintaining our current lifestyle, and certainly about not wanting to disrupt our family. We try to maximize the dollar in our pocket, and not respond to advice by the professionals we hire. As sellers, we refuse to adjust the price to the market, we aren’t reinvesting in the home with simple fixes, and we forget to re-stage the home for every showing. So often, we can sabotage our own efforts to sell.
Keep communicating with your agent, and listen to the feedback you are receiving from potential buyers. Our goal is to sell your house for the most amount of money, in the shortest period of time, with the least amount of inconvenience. If your home is tidy, well maintained, and is priced according to market value, it should sell in no time!
Should I continue to RENT or BUY a home?
With interest rates so low, many are wondering if it might be a good time to purchase a home. Buying a home isn’t right for everyone, so let’s look at some factors.
Can you qualify for a mortgage?
The first step is to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Your broker will ask for a list of documents to verify your income such as your last tax return and do a credit search to establish your credit score. Obviously if your income is too low, or your credit score has flaws, renting might just make sense.
Do you plan on staying in your home for a while?
If you plan on moving within 2 years, it may not be worth your while to purchase a home because of associated costs such as lawyer fees, home inspections, homeowners insurance, utility hook ups, and movers, etc. The first several years of a mortgage is almost all interest payments and not much principal. The market itself will also help determine if it’s a good time to buy as well. If you are purchasing a home in a Buyer’s market (homes tend to be sold more reasonably), you have a better opportunity to make a profit when it comes time to sell. A good REALTOR® will ensure that you never over-pay for a property.
Can you afford upkeep and repairs of the home?
Regular maintenance, and things like replacing furnaces, appliances, shingles, and yard care all come with an expense. Will you be able to save for this rainy day fund?
Is your family status going to change?
A growing family has a huge impact on purchasing a home. Are you planning on getting married in the near future? Two household incomes vs one will help you qualify for a larger home. Thinking of having children? First and foremost, having children is not free and can make a significant impact on someone’s financials. The additional costs associated with having children can create additional financial stress. Many parents wish to bring their children up in a particular neighbourhood, or attend a certain school. Can you currently afford to purchase a home in that neighbourhood?
Which is Cheaper?
The initial cost of buying a home is much higher than continuing to rent as a minimum 5% down payment is required; however the actual cost of owning a home may very well be less than renting.
Buyers who have fixed rate mortgages will pay approximately the same amount per month over the life of a loan while renters may find themselves paying several hundred dollars more in a short 3 or 4 year span with rental increases.Deciding whether to continue renting or to buy a home is a big decision. It is not a decision that should be made without analyzing both options in detail. Consulting with a mortgage lender and an experienced REALTOR® can make this process enjoyable and as stress free as possible.
Should I stay or should I go?
One of the greatest fears associated with aging is not being able to afford or have access to health care services and long-term support when these are required. Does one decide to move to an assisted-living home, or age in place? Aging in place is a term that refers to making changes in the home and utilizing a support system to live safely, independently and in a familiar environment for as long as possible.
Downsizing a house is one of the big questions baby boomers and seniors need to grapple with.
Start by asking yourself a few questions.
- Is maintaining the property wearing you down?
- Are you comfortable managing your daily routines?
- Can you get around to stores, restaurants, and social activities?
- How much support would you have in an emergency?
- Do loved ones worry about you and do your children need peace of mind that you’re safe?
Weigh the expenses associated with all of your options. Those include things like income, mortgage or rent payments, property taxes, and relocation expenses, along with any renovations you’d like to make for aesthetics or for aging in place purposes. If you are considering living in a Seniors Community, my advice is to find one where you feel the most comfortable, and negotiate the rate later. Don’t rule out any residences based only on price.
Have a strategy for long-term care and determine the options that would let you receive care where you most prefer, whether it’s at home or at an assisted living community.
The following structural modifications could enable aging in place.
- Better lighting to illuminate doorways, walkways and steps with motion-sensor switches so lights go on when a senior enters the room.
- Widened doorways to accommodate a walker or wheelchair.
- A ramp or chairlift that allows moving from one floor to another without the use of stairs.
- Handlebars near the bathtub and toilet for extra support.
- Simple devices such as phones with larger keypads and better volume control.
When deciding where to live in retirement or whether to move, think of future life stages and priorities regarding things like affordability, climate, proximity to family and friends, recreational activities, and opportunities for continued work. Test-drive potential relocation areas by making long visits or doing short-term rentals. Often, Senior Communities will let you come and be a guest for a weekend!
If you’re a buyer, you want to check out my Featured Homes, as they’re selected for their quality and amenities. As a seller, you’ll want to see your home on this page.
- 154 KRAUSS STREET, Regina, SK S4T6G3
- 4 BD, 3.0 BA
- 389 WOOD LILY DRIVE, Moose Jaw, SK S6J0A2
- 4 BD, 3.0 BA
- 44 Goldenglow DRIVE, Moose Jaw, SK S6J 1N7
- 5 BD, 3.0 BA
- RM FILLMORE, Fillmore, SK SOG1N0
- 4 BD, 3.0 BA
- 256 ROSS STREET W, Moose Jaw, SK S6H 2M5
- 3 BD, 3.0 BA
What My Clients Are Saying About Me
June 11, 2016
Working out of province was an excellent experience with Doreen. Doreen was very easy to work with and her knowledge was outstanding The sale price was on point for what the market was doing, ourselves and the buyer were very happy with the outcome. She was readily available which was important being from BC. I would highly recommend Doreen to anybody.
January 22, 2016
I had 100% confidence in Doreen's ability.She is an intelligent individual and has a excellent work ethic. Her positive attitude made the experience an enjoyable one
November 26, 2015
Thanks so much for the opportunity to work with you. I was very pleased with the professional job done in the sale of my house. I appreciated your patience and help finding me a new home.
October 28, 2015
''All aspects of the sale of my property and the purchase of my condo went very smoothly. Thank you to Doreen for being so patient with me. ''
June 01, 2015
''The whole experience dealing with Better Homes and Garden was an absolute pleasure. Doreen Heinbigner focused on our personal needs both selling our home and purchasing a new one. We look forward to listing with her again, and will not hesitate to refer Doreen Heinbigner and the Better Homes and Garden team in the future.''
The Pinel Family
"Doreen went above and beyond in helping me find the perfect house. I will recommend her and will definitely call again! She was very professional and knowledgeable about the process i couldn't be happier with the service Doreen provided!"
March 2, 2015
Thanks for doing such a great job of selling our land. It was a particularly tough time for me personally so your kindness and professionalism was much appreciated. I wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year. All the best Doreen!
Dec 8, 2014
We were very pleased with the way everything went with Doreen at Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Signature Service. We found a house that fit all of our needs and had an offer in the same day. We were so pleased with her skills that we asked Doreen to sell our properties. The first sold within a week and the second with in 4 weeks. Everything went very smooth and everyone is happy.
4th Dec 2014
Scrupulously honest and a consummate professional, Doreen Heinbigner was very helpful to me at every stage of the purchase process. She looked after my interests exceptionally well and provided me with clear and timely guidance. As a novice home-buyer, this was much appreciated. I would highly recommend her to everyone.
Dave Stymeist, Winnipeg
22nd Oct 2014
Thank you Doreen Heinbigner for all your help, guidance, support and patience with the sale of my house! It means a lot that you worked hard and cheered me on and kept me focused on options, open houses and important and timely price reductions! Paper work was explained, questions answered, and support given when it was overwhelming was greatly appreciated!! It was a pleasure having you as my realtor and i would highly recommend your expertise and utilize your service again in the future! Job well done :)
Shelley Waldenberger, Moose Jaw SK
30th Jul 2014
We were 100% satisfied with everything Doreen did for us - even the beautiful flowers!
R+L Wheeler - Moose Jaw
1st Jul 2014
A realtor friend in our old town recommended Doreen, when he found out we were moving to Moose Jaw. When we met her, she was very friendly and easy to talk to. We met with Doreen, spent a day looking at houses, and—what good fortune!—we found our dream home that same day! Doreen had so much advice for us, as we were buying our first house. We really appreciated the help she gave us in making our offer, asking questions of the homeowners, offering us the use of a moving trailer, and many little things that helped make the experience stress free!
Alex and Eric
A few months ago my husband and I had the pleasure of meeting Doreen to discuss the purchase of our home. Doreen went above and beyond to help us purchase the place. She is a very caring real estate consultant and I felt very fortunate to have has her assist me with the home buying process! I will gladly ask her to help me in the selling process in the future!
Dear Doreen, Thank you for your assistance with my recent duplex purchase. The process wasn’t without its issues but all obstacles for both the seller and myself were handled with respect and professionalism. It is the obstacles and how they are handled which often determines the success and completion of a transaction.
Thanks Doug Higginson
Doreen listed my house which was previously listed by a different realtor. She was honest with me and helped me chose a listing price to sell. Doreen quickly got to work to sell my home; she hired a professional photographer to take photos of the house, she created an attractive descriptive listing, pamphlets, and hosted both a realtor and public open house within the first week. Doreen advertised in every way possible and after only being listed for a little over a month during a season known for having a slow market, my house was sold! Doreen communicated with me about each showing and shared all feedback with me. She was professional and knowledgeable and she is assertive when negotiating with other realtors. My experience with Doreen was so positive and easy! I have and will continue to recommend Doreen to anyone selling or buying a new home.
Doreen was a great fit for us and our selling needs. She provided great, innovative selling tools and always had ideas that she would share. A professional photographer was a fantastic choice that Doreen had made as the pictures were outstanding. It was a huge contribution to a quick sale.
Ryan and Christine Stich
This winter I had the pleasure of using Doreen Heinbigner as my realtor. I had seen her at different community events but a close friend that has good knowledge of the industry recommend that I use her because she is one of the best; and she did not disappoint. Ms. Heinbigner was very professional and had great marketing materials; she was flexible and accommodating to my crazy work schedule. When it came time for my boyfriend to list his place, I did not hesitate recommending her.
I found Doreen to be professional, courteous, and diligent in her work. She kept me informed, and was always available to answer my questions. Imagine my surprise (and delight) when my home was sold the day AFTER the for sale sign went up! In conclusion, I would cheerfully recommend anyone contemplating buying or selling property to look to Doreen first.
Knowledgeable, Efficient, Dedicated and Professional are just a few words to describe Doreen’s work ethic. She is excellent to communicate with and went above and beyond to help us find our “Perfect” home. We would definitely recommend Doreen!
Darin & Kayla
Doreen, thanking you so much for the professionalism and knowledge you have while you worked with me in helping me purchase my new home. I want to thank you for being so pleasant and understanding, and you always answered my question promptly and were very attentive to my concerns and needs. I hope 2013 is a very prosperous year, and you deserve any and all success that comes your way! I will highly recommend you to anyone buying or selling a property. Thanks again so much - Merry Christmas to you and your family.
Thanks to Doreen, my fiancé and I just purchased our first home together! A very exciting time for us. She was very patient showing us over 20 houses until we found the perfect one to become our home sweet home - and great for my massage therapy business too. I was extremely pleased that my house sold within a week! Everything went nice and smoothly. Thanks again Doreen!
Hands On Healing Massage
"Being a first time home buyer I was expecting a stressful and overwhelming situation. Doreen brought knowledge, professionalism, and a enthusiastic approach taking the stress and hassle out of the picture. She was easy to contact, personable, and made time whenever needed. Thank You for the pleasurable experience./p>
"Doreen worked with us on the sale of our house and the purchase of our hew home. She was excellent! Always there and very helpful whenever we had questions. We highly recommend her to anyone selling or purchasing a home."
Justin and Rhonda Kwan
"I am pleased to write a letter of recommendation for Doreen Heinbigner. Doreen first contacted us in response to a house rental ad that we had posted for the house. At that time we had told her that we had found a "solid tenant" that was going to be moving back Dec. 1st. However, this tenant backed out of the rental agreement. These were exactly the kinds of issues we weren't prepared to deal with while we were living in Saskatoon. I called Doreen a couple of days later to ask her opinion on what our options were. Doreen listened carefully to what I had to tell her and agreed to meet us to see the house in Moose Jaw. After looking through the house she told us what she thought we could rent or sell the house for and was confident that, either way, we wouldn't have to wait long to rent or sell. We were happy with her estimates and decided to put the house up for sale. We listened to her recommendations to paint the bedrooms a neutral color and refinish the hardwood floors in the living room. In two months we had 5 offers and sold the house for exactly what we wanted.Throughout the process she consistently met with us late in the evenings, as we were always travelling from Saskatoon after work. She communicated effectively through text message and email when she could, saving us long distance phone charges. She always updated us when we were having showings, feedback from clients/Realtors, when to be available for offers and so forth. She reassured us to walk away from 3 lower offers and wait to get what our house was worth. Doreen went above and beyond by facilitating the hardwood refinishing process over the Christmas holidays so that we did not have to come to Moose Jaw at all. Overall, Doreen did great job as our listing agent. She was always straight forward and delivered. I would not hesitate to recommend Doreen as an ideal candidate to help you in buying or selling real estate."
Travis and Jaclyn Frith
"Doreen was awesome to deal with and worked hard to help us find our perfect starter home. We would definitely recommend her to anyone that needs a professional Realtor."
Mike and Ana Mah
"Thank you so much for all your assistance in helping us sell the house. We valued your professionalism and dedication. We know you will continue to be very successful in your career. We will be sure to give your name to any friends who are looking to buy or sell in Moose Jaw.
Sarah and Sean
"Doreen looked after us well as she had a lot of patience when we wanted to go back and see a property multiple times. She worked hard to sell our home, and helped us find the perfect acreage. We would recommend her to anyone looking to buy or sell."
Colin and Karen winter
"Doreen was referred to me when I was ready to sell my home... (It was a great choice) I found her very efficient and pleasant....right from the first day that she came and evaluated my home and until it was sold. She kept me informed of all transactions. I would (and I will) recommend her to anyone who is thinking of selling.
"Doreen made the purchase of our new home a great experience. She always made time for us and we felt like we were her number one priority, even though we knew she had lots of other clients. She was personable, professional and knowledgable. We couldn't have chosen a better realtor. Thanks Doreen, we love our new home!"
Al and Carla Proust
"Doreen looked after us well as she had a lot of patience when we wanted to go back and see a property multiple times. She worked hard to sell our home, and helped us find the perfect acreage. We would recommend her to anyone looking to buy or sell."
Cam and Rhonda Simms