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Home Automation – The High Tech House Movement

I am very particular with the referral partners I work with. Sending my clients to an electrician who will educate, understand, and go the extra mile for my clients is so important.  Kevin Jackson from Yellow Jacket Energy Services has proven himself to be one of the best electricians I have had the privilege to work with over the last 9 years. Here is Kevin letting us all know the amazing benefits of home automation, and the packages that Yellow Jacket Energy Services offers.

 

Until recently, home automation seemed like something from a futuristic sci-fi movie. Now, there are amazing developments in technology which allow us to be able to control interconnecting features of our home from anywhere in the world.

 

Having a home automation system installed and making your home “smarter” has so many benefits!

 

  • Save Money – Having a home automation system can save you money with your utility costs for years to come!
    • Set your lights to turn off or dim automatically to save energy usage
    • Have your outdoor lights turn on when motion is detected, instead of leaving them on all day or night
    • Set your furnace and air conditioning to use less energy
    • Avoid monthly fees for security features, and monitor them yourself with your system

 

  • Feel Secure – Installing an HA system can mean more security for your biggest purchase, lessening stress and worry about your home and your safety.
    • Set sensors and alarms for the whole house, or for rooms of your choice
    • Get notified instantly if any doors or windows are opened if they aren’t supposed to be
    • Program sirens and strobes to go off if your home is invaded
    • Lock and unlock your doors from anywhere, and set reminders to lock your doors remotely
    • Get an HD video alert if someone is on your doorstep. You can even scare off a potential thief with two-way voice communication from anywhere.
    • Monitor specific cabinets so your children don’t get into something hazardous
    • While you are on vacation, make your home look like it’s being lived in
    • Set a temperature sensor for when you are on vacation and get notified if your temperature is too low or high.
    • Detect water leaks in your home and be notified before your basement starts to flood
    • Set your system to notify you about smoke and carbon monoxide, which allows you to call for help instantly.

 

  • Increase Your Home’s Value
    • A smart home is cutting edge and will make your property more prominent in the market, will increase interest, and add value to your home.

 

  • User friendliness – The home automation package can be used right from your smartphone and tablet!

 

  • Up your comfort! Set routines such as “good morning” or “movie night”, and set your devices to do exactly what you want during those routines

 

Yellowjacket Energy Services has a great home automation package for sellers who want to increase their home’s value. This package includes:

  • Main control hub (brains of the operation)
  • Voice activated controller (install in common area to show clients you can talk to your house and have it control lights, play music, turn up heat, etc.)
  • Dimming smart switches and 5 on/off smart switches (pick areas of house best shown with automation and voice control.  Also, set as a “vacation routine” to make house lived in, even if it is vacant)
  • Moisture sensors
  • Water shutoff valve (if any of the 3 above moisture sensors detect a leak, it will automatically close the water main and prevent house from flooding)
  • Indoor motion sensors (set up to show clients lights can turn on/off as you walk into rooms without touching anything)
  • Smart Thermostat (control by smartphone or voice activation)

 

Each package can be customized with options from many devices, sequences, and alarms, and the price to supply, install and program everything above is $2,995 + GST, which also includes an electrical permit and inspection report.  Yellowjacket Energy Services also offers financing on Home Automation packages based on a 120 month term, but can be paid off at any time without a penalty. If you are listing your home and want to include this package, you can pay $30/month while your home is on the market, then pay the balance when the property sells.

 

Find more information on Yellowjacket’s home automation packages and services here 

 

Want to connect with Kevin? Keep in touch with Kevin and Yellow Jacket Energy Services!

Visit their website here

Email at contactus@yellowjacketenergy.ca

Call at 1-855-955-2285

 

Still have questions about home automation, and how it can help you sell your property? Let’s chat!

Buy or Sell a Home the Easy Way!

Providing a smooth and stress free experience for my clients when buying or selling their homes has always been a priority for me. Over the past nine years I have come up with proven systems to help my clients buy and sell real estate. I wanted to make these systems even more convenient for my clients and thought “how great would it be to have all my systems in one place on our cell phones?”. Flash forward a year later and here we are!

I’m so excited to announce that I have created my very own mobile application to help service my clients!

The Nichola Elise Coffee to Keys Mobile App will simplify the home buying or selling experience. Be confident in your real estate decisions by accessing all the information you need in one place. A personalized, easy-to-use, one-stop mobile information depot in your pocket.

Be informed, keep yourself on track, and enjoy! Buy or sell a home the easy way with the Nichola Elise Real Estate App!

 

What can the app do?

  • Use customized task lists for your transaction –helping you keep on track and know exactly what comes next!
  • Use the calendar to track appointments, showings, and coffee dates – even my most organized clients will love having the extra details taken care of.
  • Find exactly where your showings are and how long it will take to get there with Google Maps and pins
  • Allow you to view your listing feedback –sellers listen up – all your showing feedback will be listed here along with date and time of all showings to help adjust our sales strategies if needed. Collaborative data all in one spot!
  • Rank, add photos and comment on your favorite listings, helping to manage your options
  • View and retrieve PDF copies of all signed documents in one spot for easy download and emailing
  • Easily calculate costs within the app using our Mortgage Calculator
  • Search MLS within the app 
  • And even the ability to determine your homes market value!

 

Buying or selling a home made easy. Everything you need. In one place.

Stay tuned for the launch of HomEASY – the same great app, but fully customizable for other agents – so their clients can enjoy the convenience of the application that’s personally branded for each individual agent.

Seven Qualities of a Great Realtor

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Your home is one of the most important places in your life. It can be your most valuable asset, the place where you make your fondest memories, and live your greatest dreams – home is where the heart is, after all! Buying or selling your home is an exciting process, and deciding on your realtor is one of the first steps. Like any other professional service industry, the realty industry is made up of all kinds of realtors with differing styles, and selecting a realtor should be a thoughtful decision. Below are seven qualities of a great real estate agent, exactly what you should expect from your realtor.

Your agent should be…

1) An Excellent Communicator

No two deals are the same when it comes to buying and selling, and not every deal is going happen without a hitch. Your real estate agent should be communicating with you continually, updating you with every detail of your deal. To top it off, buying and selling is quite time-sensitive, so having a realtor who is always ready to talk to you about what’s best for you, what your next steps should be, and what’s happening with the deal is definitely an important quality.

I pride myself on always getting back to my clients emails, text messages, or phone calls within only a couple hours of receiving them. Even if I am busy showing homes to someone else, I will reach out to my client saying “I have received your communication and will respond before ___ time” – buying and selling real estate is always a big deal, and I know that you don’t want to be sitting at home wondering if I got your message. I always communicate in a timely fashion.

 

2) Very Proactive

Your agent should be proactive in working with you, either as a current, past, or potential client. They should be reaching out to you regularly and always on top of ways to keep your deals going smoothly. They should be thinking about you and how to improve your current real estate situation even when they are not around you – these are the agents who have your best interest in mind, and the ones you will want to work with for every real estate deal.

Aligning myself with my clients goals is very important to making our time together fun and productive. I will ask tons of questions so that I fully understand the motivation behind all of your needs and wants. This way I can make your goals my goals, making us a seamless team!

 

3) A Great Listener

Real estate agents are generally great at talking up a storm – however, they need to be great listeners too! They must be able to listen to what you’re saying, and understand your situation, your needs, and your wants. If you’re working with an agent who is actively listening to you, you’ll be that much more confident in your relationship.

I believe in forming a strong working relationship – key word relationship. Strong relationships are built on communication and trust. Part of good communication is listening, my father always said “you have two ears and one mouth” –it just makes sense.

 

4) Adaptable! 

Your needs and wants might change from time to time, and your agent should have no trouble adapting to your situation. Your agent should be able to change their style in order to conform to yours – if you prefer face-to-face meetings instead of texting or emailing, the realtor you are dealing with should be able to work with your needs.

Being a millennial, I have tons of experience with the latest technology and trends including going paperless and electronic signatures. But that is not for everyone, and rest assured that once we meet together we can discuss the systems that suite your needs best.

 

5) Able to Give Great References!

Companies don’t hire people without first checking their references, you shouldn’t work with a realtor without checking theirs either. Your agent should be happy to share past client testimonials with you, and if they don’t, that might be your clue to look for a different agent. I keep some of my testimonials online, you can click here to check them out.

My past clients are so happy with our time together that they are willing to get in touch with new clients to give a reference. Just ask!

 

6) Knowledgeable of Your Situation 

This goes hand in hand with being a great listener – your agent should be able to understand and be knowledgeable of why you’re buying or selling, whether it’s for investment purposes, personal family situations, or something different. A good agent will be mindful about the situation, and will know the steps to take to make your real estate experience as smooth as possible.

 

7) Able to Work with Your Time-frame 

Real estate deals are time sensitive, and your realtor should be able to gain a clear understanding of your timeframe – and how to work effectively within that allotment. They should be able to think quick on their toes in order to get each and every detail worked out in the time you need.

 

I love being a Realtor, and I am passionate about my clients and their current real estate needs. I work hard to make my clients’ experience smooth and tailored to what they need.

Do you have questions about your current real estate situation? Let’s chat! Click here to get in touch.

 

Source: http://www.remonline.com/7-qualities-great-real-estate-agent/ 

How to Stage Your Home Like A Pro Part Two

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Last week, we released part one of this post. If you haven’t read it yet, check it out here! Read on below to get the best tips for staging your space to sell your home fast. 

Bathroom

  • It’s time to get out your cleaning equipment and scrub away all the built up grime on every surface of your bathroom, such as water stains, and soap scum.
  • Consider completing tasks such as re-caulking around the tub, painting the tile (this is much less expensive than replacing the tile, and can turn out to be a very beautiful upgrade), replace old towels with new and clean towels, un-clogging and cleaning drains, and fixing a leaky toilet.
  • Put away all your personal toiletries, from medicine to razors, and add in some spa-inspired items, such as nice soap dispensers, candles, and plants.


Walls, Windows & More

  • Brighten up dark rooms and hallways with a fresh coat of light neutral coloured paint, or add in a mirror to create a larger space.
  • Even out the nicks in your walls by filling them and touch up these spots with some paint.
  • To keep your home modern, paint over any wood panelling – if you want to you can fill in the panel lines with wood filler and paint over the whole thing, or keep the panelling as an interesting texture.
  • It’s also important to ensure that all your switch plates and outlet covers match and look new. Replace them if necessary.
  • De-personalize the space by removing your family photos and replace with interesting, modern art.
  • Lastly, wash all the walls and windows, you’d be surprised at how grimy they get from day-to-day life.


Throughout the House

  • Think about every possible way you can de-clutter, whether that’s getting ruthless and getting rid of things, or boxing them away for later assessment.
  • Keep any storage space as empty as possible so buyers can see how large the space really is.
  • Make your unused space functional – add in a desk or reading nook so buyers can see how to utilize your space.
  • Lastly, keep your floors updated by replacing any broken boards and deep cleaning your carpets.


Exterior

  • Freshen up the outside of your house by re-staining your porch and deck, and re-painting your door.
  • Keep your colour neutral or to red, black, or something that compliments the trim and won’t blend in too much. Before painting, it might be a good idea to power-wash everything.
  • It’s also important to make sure all your lights, doorbells, doorknobs, and locks are working, and if they aren’t it’s time to replace that.
  • Take a good look at your landscape, and see what upgrades you can do. We have published a great post on landscaping to sell your home here.


For Pet Owners

  • Deep clean all carpet and textile areas, and use a specialized carpet or textile cleaner made specifically for removing pet odours.
  • Stash away any pet toys, and check the yard for those special “presents” your animal may leave behind.
  • For showings and open houses, find a place where you can take your furry friend for the time, as pets can be very distracting to potential buyers.

 


Day of Showing

  • Add something special with a seasonal accent, such as a bouquet of flowers in the warmer weather, or simmering cinnamon sticks in the cold months.
  • Try not to do any cooking, as it might leave behind an unpleasant scent. Instead, you might want to bake cookies to leave a nice smell in your home.
  • Clean and tidy up everything as best as you can.

Now you can stage your home like a pro! Have questions about selling your home? Let’s chat!

 

 

 

Source: https://www.houselogic.com/sell/preparing-your-home-to-sell/home-staging-checklist/

 

Sell Your Home with Landscaping Tips and Tricks

ROADRUNNER

Spring is here and it’s time to start revamping your yard, especially if you plan to sell your house this summer. First impressions make a big difference on a buyer, and the first time your buyer forms an opinion of your house is from it’s curb appeal. Although yardwork and landscaping can often be neglected while selling a home, as much as 10% extra value can be added to your home through beautifying your yard.

Give yourself time to start working on your yard – at least a month before you plan to list – to get your yard looking just right, instead of looking haphazardly thrown together. Here is a guideline with a few tips you can follow to get your yard in ship-shape for selling.

 

Fix Up Outdoor Containers

Quite a lot of interest can be added to green spaces, patios, doorways, walkways, and difficult spaces in your yard through container gardens. A container garden can be anything from simple succulents to flowers and vegetables, to large tropicals, adding different levels of greenery. These touches can also show how endless the possibilities are when designing and landscaping a yard, especially with a more difficult space.

 

Layer On Some Mulch

Probably one of the easiest and cheapest steps to take, yet will add some invaluable tidiness to your garden bed, is adding a new layer of mulch. New mulch will make your foliage stand out and add some contrast and new colour to your beds.

 

Add In Colour

Greenery is especially treasured here in Alberta, but colourful plants will add even more beauty to all that greenery, and will break up monotone yards. Add in layers or splashes of colour, or opt for a garden with a monochromatic theme – whatever style will suit your home best.

 

Get Pruning

Another inexpensive way to clean up your yard is to spend time shaping overgrown foliage. It might be easy to overlook this chore throughout the seasons, but gardens will show signs of neglect quickly if they are not taken care of – and that is not something you want to present to a potential buyer.

 

Spend Time With Your Perennials

It is a good idea to spend time replacing or tidying up your perennials that might not be looking as nice as they should. If you don’t want to replace the plant, you can always put an ornamental pot or container garden in its place. This is also a good time to think about what plants you will be taking with you when you move, and to possibly dig those up – or be sure to let potential buyers know which plants will still be in the yard after you sell.

 

Tidy Up Water Accents

Neglected features containing water, such as fountains, bird baths, and small pools in your landscape can easily collect algae or leaves. It’s important to keep these clean and updated, as a nasty looking water feature can turn off buyers instantly.

 

Fix Up Irrigation Concerns

Potential buyers can also be turned off by expensive updates and repairs, so make them before you list your house. Irrigation issues fall under this, as they can be time consuming and costly, so be sure to fix it right away. It’s also a good idea to provide information about irrigation in your yard – the schedule, system, and any instructions.

 

Take Care of Faucet Leaks

Faucet leaks might not seem like a big deal, but sometimes they can point to other issues on the property with plumbing. As you can imagine, a potential buyer might stray away from this. If you are able to repair these leaks, it’s best to do them right away. It’s a good idea to quickly water your yard and greenery before a showing happens at your home, as it shows buyers that your space is well managed.

 

Power-Wash Your Space

Rent or purchase a power-washer to clean hard surfaces, such as driveways or cement pads in your yard. This step can make rundown areas look all shiny and new. A power washer can also help clean other surfaces, such as brick, vinyl, and fences.

 

Label Your Plants

Lastly, providing potential buyers with garden and plant information is a great extra bonus for showings. Leaving a garden plan behind, or even labels in the garden, will eliminate a lot of work for your home’s new owner, and they will greatly appreciate your effort. This is also perfect for showings as some long term plants, or ones that may be difficult to grow can add extra value to your home.

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:
http://landscapingservicessandiego.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/landscaping-services-in-san-diego-header-1.jpg
http://www.hgtv.com/design/outdoor-design/landscaping-and-hardscaping/landscaping-tips-that-can-help-sell-your-home

 

 

Out of Town Sellers

In early April I got a call from a dear friend of mine, he and his brother were living in a two bedroom, two bathroom condo right on Saskatchewan Drive owned by their parents, Eileen and Paul* (names have been changed for privacy). They had bought it as an investment for their kids a couple years ago.

The parents, my clients, no longer had use for the condo as both brothers were moving out of town for work and since they lived about two hours outside of Edmonton they did not want to keep it as a rental property.

Since Eileen and Paul lived out of town, my first step was to arranged a time with the two brothers to come take a look at the condominium. I wanted to have a good sense of the property with a current comparative market analysis to show my clients when they made the drive in to town.

Once that was done I met Eileen and Paul at my office and together we went over the market analysis, agreeing on a listing price. We then discussed the entire home selling process from front to back but more importantly, we discussed how this transaction will work with them living so far away. The process was completely laid out, concise, and we began right away!

Once the paperwork was signed I immediately got my favourite cleaning company in to the listing to make sure it showed 110% before we put it on the market! I personally met with the cleaning company to give them the spare key and off they went!

The next day the photographer and I went to the listing to get some professional photos of the home for our listing on REALTOR.CA (aka MLS.ca). I have a professional take photos of all my listings to make sure they are shown in their best light!

Once the listing was on the market the showings started almost immediately. About three weeks on the market we received an offer. I called my clients immediately and we went over the offer to purchase together. We came to an agreement and I sent off the paperwork to have it signed, but only after all questions and concerns were handled.

 


 

When you are selling a condo it is your responsibilities as the home owner to supply the buyer with the condominium documents – these are purchased from your condo management company. Prices vary but I have seen them as low as $150 and as high as $1,200.


Often the process of ordering, paying, and then picking up the condo documents can be tricky as each management company has a different process, business hours, and fee structure. For this transaction I personally ordered, paid (clients reimbursed me), and picked up and delivered the documents to the buyer. This ensured it was done on time, making the deal go that much smoother.

Next thing we knew the buyers were removing conditions and the unit was sold!

My clients and I were ecstatic.

Eileen and Paul made one last trip to the city to make sure the unit was cleaned out and in good shape for the new owners.

I got a lovely phone call from my sellers the day after the home sold. They were singing me praises and letting me know how effortless this transaction was. I knew I had done everything I could to make this transaction seamless and was happy to hear the clients felt the same!

 

 

Actual Clients Testimonial:
We live out of the city and were dreading trying to sell our Edmonton condominium. Nichola made selling our condo easy and relatively effortless! She even arranged cleaning of our unit. Thank you Nichola!”
– Eileen & Paul*

 

My extensive database is forever growing but here are some of the contacts I used for this deal to make it a dream for my out of town clients:

  • House Cleaners
  • Professional photographers
  • Condo Management Companies
  • Lawyers

Naming Our City!

Ever wonder how/where some of Edmonton’s Favourite communities got their names?! Ever wonder how/where your own community got its name?!

Let’s chats!

The following neighbourhoods were ranked at the top in the MLS® System sales for single family homes and condominiums in the past year in Edmonton.

 


 

Let’s dig a little deeper and explore the background of the people, the events, and the natural features of some of the specific areas and how that inspired their names!

 


 

Oliver

In 2014 not only was it Edmonton’s hottest spot to buy and sell but it the name Oliver is packed with tons of history! Frank Oliver (1853-1933) brought the first printing press to Edmonton and cofounded the Edmonton Bulletin shortly thereafter with telegraph operator Alex Taylor. Oliver went on to become Alberta’s first Member of Parliament in 1905 and sat in the House of Commons until 1917. If Frank Oliver hadn’t dropped his last name given at birth, Bowsfield, one of our most popular communities might just be called Bowsfeild!

 

Rutherford

This community came in second in the most sales for 2014 but Alexander Cameron Rutherford was second to none when he became Alberta’s first premier in 1905. In 1909 he won his second election but after a railway scandal he had to resign. Rutherford was a major part of making sure the University of Alberta was built in South Edmonton (now Strathcona) and became a member of the university’s senate in 1907. Without Mr. Rutherford our university may not lay were it does.

 

 The Hamptons

Perhaps the name is best known for the chic residential area on Long Island, New York but here in Edmonton this neighbourhood only began development in the early years of this century.

 

Summerside

Come on over and jump in to Summerside! Edmonton’s first neighbourhood with a man-made lake! Swimming with people, buying and selling all styles and homes, this nautical themed community named for a city in Prince Edward Island has a 28 foot deep lake that contains 680 million liters of water!

 

South Terwillegar

Dr. Norman Terwillegar lived in and around the Terwillegar subdivision for many years before passing away in 1948. Terwillegar was a doctor of medicine at the Royal Alexandria Hospital and was the president of the Edmonton Academy of Medicine.

 

Windermere

Developed in the 1960’s as part of Strathcona country then annexed to Edmonton in 1982 we don’t have much information about this particular name other than: “winder” is something that takes ones breath away. “Mere” has been defined as a boundary or landmark…

 

Strathcona

Named after Sir Donald Alexander Smith a Scottish man who apprenticed for the Hudson’s Bay Company for 50 years before becoming the governor of the company. The name comes from Sir Donald being the 1st Baron Strathcona and Mount Royal. There were high hopes for this area to be a major commercial centre in competition with the hub across the river, remember this was before there was a bridge binding the two parts of our wonderful city.

 

 Westmount

Much like today this community was marketed towards young professionals, especially in 1910 when the residents could easily travel to and from downtown on the electric streetcar that ran down Jasper Avenue to 110 Avenue via 124 Street. Being one of the most popular and oldest areas in Edmonton this community is still a hot spot for young adults working in our cities core.

 

Garneau

Laurent Garneau (1840-1921) was granted River Lot 7, on the south side of the North Saskatchewan River and his property quickly became known as “The Garneau”. Garneau was of Metis descent and was believed to be born in Michigan which is over 2,800 kms away from where he built his home that was later used to name one of Edmonton’s most beautiful and mature neighbourhoods.

 

SOURCE: NAMING EDMONTON FROM ADA TO ZOIE

THE UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA PRESS

 

Curb Appeal – What it takes to Sell Your Home the Easy Way!

If you are selling your home, you will never want your potential buyers to just drive by and keep going. But if your property lacks the curb appeal, or it does not seem well maintained on the outside, they will simply ignore it and never give it a second glance.

The curb appeal of a home is critical as it serves as the first impression of your property to potential buyers, and we all know how important first impressions are! This is the reason why exterior replacement projects can give you the best value for your money. Projects like windows, siding and entry door replacements can increase your potential sale amount when you successfully resell your home.

Some homeowners tend to panic when they hear about exterior projects, thinking that they cannot afford to replace their shutters, siding, and windows. But don’t panic! Improving the curb appeal of your property often entails doing a few small projects which can still leave a big and remarkable impact on your home. The good news is that these tips are quick and won’t break the bank.

So, what are the easy and economical tips that can make your curb appeal more affordable than ever?

  • Wash your windows – inside and out!
  • Update your front door’s light fixture and replace the light bulb.
  • Throw away that old and ratty “welcome” mat!
  • Scrap worn and peeling paint off window trims and repaint them!
  • Install or replace your mailbox.
  • Replace the window treatments inside your house if needed. Look at the window treatments in the rooms on the front of your home. How do they look from the front walk or street? Eliminate or update them if necessary.
  • If your front walk is heaved or cracked, repair them right away – this can be expensive so talk to your REALTOR® first.
  • Remove shrub branches and dead trees. Note: tree branches should not be pressed up against your house! This can do damage over time.
  • Mow your lawn.
  • Clean the front lights, walkway and entryway of tree debris, dirt, dust, cobwebs and others.
  • You can add some potted and colorful plants along your entryway or walkway. A good alternative is to use small succulents that are planted together in bigger containers.
  • Make sure that your front door is painted. Doors will always leave a first impression to the people entering your home. See to it that it is always clean or you can also add a fresh coat of paint if you like.
  • Sweep and clean your driveway.
  • Put away all your yard equipment as well as the children’s toys in their proper storage area.
  • Never use your porch as a storage place.
  • Got an RV? Look for another place where you can park your extra cars, RVs, trailers or boats.
  • Place your garbage cans where they are not visible from the street.

Curb appeal is one of the crucial aspects that help sell most of the houses offered on the market. If you are preparing to sell your home sometime soon, investing time and money into improving the curb appeal of your home is a no-brainer.

Working with a Divorcing Couple