home improvements

Erase Ugly Scratches from Your Wood Floors


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Features That Reduce Your Property Value – You Might Be Surprised…



I followed him* through each room, making notes and taking measurements. My client had requested a home valuation, and we were about to enter the Great Room. He waved a hand across the room as though revealing a King’s dining hall. It wasn’t.

The mid-century home had, at one time, been owned by someone my client greatly admired. He eyed my notes, hinting I should include that tidbit as a selling feature. The “timeless classic” was adorned in brightly colored floral wallpaper, as was the style at the time. He hiked his eyebrows and eyed my notes again.

Room by room I was shown mid-century ‘original features’ which, I gathered from the arched eyebrows and wide grin, he assumed added value to the home.  To his surprise, it didn’t.

The 20-30 year old buyers who will most likely purchase an older house like this, don’t dig ‘dated’. They do not worship the historical roots of floral wall paper, and experience little nostalgia because of panelled walls, or arched stucco doorways. If they buy the home it will be in spite of these things, not because of them.

If I may, I’d like to offer a few quick tips about what does NOT add value to your home, no matter how passionately you believe they should. 

  • “Original” or “Classic” are names for Barbeque sauce, not to be mistakenly assigned to shag carpet or floral wallpaper. If it is not the current style, it is dated. Dated décor is the opposite of a selling feature.
  • Dated Architecture is, in general, not a selling feature. No, yours is not the exception unless it is an historical landmark to the general population (not just ‘owned by grandpa and built with his own hands’), and has remarkably sound structure not in need of a ridiculously expensive overhaul. Most likely, that’s not you.
  • Sentimental Features. Anything that was ‘built by hand’ by a relative of yours, or was brought over from the Mother Land or Old Country… anything that is valuable to you because of sentiment does not convert to a higher price tag. Sorry. I know this is hard to hear. It just doesn’t. (Would you pay more for a home because someone’s great grandfather brought the fireplace mantle from England a hundred years ago? )

Look, styles change for a reason. It’s the rare buyer that wrings their hands wishing to find an old house – the tinier the better – that still has original windows and vintage wallpaper, with a side of timeless vinyl flooring. It is rarer still that a buyer would expect to pay more for these ‘features’.

The best bet, if you’re selling your house anyway, is to let go of the emotional attachment to it.(or at least the hope that the new buyers would pay extra because of  it) No one will share your emotions about the house. If you’re wanting the extra dollars, renovate it to meet current buyers’ expectations. Add modern features that will attract modern buyers. THEN we can talk about how those affect the valuation, deal?


*not meant to reflect a specific person. This is a ficticious character created from a combination of my experiences.

How we saved money on windows

Maintenance  on a house is a big responsibility! If  your house needs attention and you don’t nurture it with protection it will become cranky! It will loose value.

When I shop with buyers they are quite conscious of the condition of windows! Buyers are looking to find what additional work is needed to repair a home. Many times a buyer will walk away from an option because they don’t want all the work or they would not be able to afford the repairs or replacements.

So whether you are planning to sell your house or stay in your house you may want to consider taking care of your windows!

At our house, we have really large windows. I love having the large windows because I feel like I can see the whole world from inside! My world that is. Our very own park. The seal was broken in two windows and made the glass look foggy. Unattractive! It was blocking my view! Rather than replacing the whole unit, we replaced the glass. $672. That was for very large windows!

The paint had chipped off of the wood on the exterior window frames. The wood was exposed to the elements and at risk of rotting. We did not want the expense of replacing our massive windows. We have three the same size that were in poor condition.

I heard about window cladding from a client named Jennefer. She told me how the frames can be wrapped and protected from the elements. That had me curious! I contacted image

Jason’s partner Nancy responded quickly and made an appointment for Jason to come by. He gave us an estimate of $6.50 /sq ft to clad the 5 windows that were in need of repair. Our Quote was $1085.50. We said YES! The following week Jason came two days in a row and did the work. My bill? $1085.50 just like the quote! The results?


































In the future I want to see log siding replace this vinyl siding.  The property we are on is in a great location and we find it to be a fulfillment of our dream. We want to stay!  Our house is small, mature, and simple. It feels like a cottage because of the pine kitchen and trim. It’s home. It’s where love lives.

Our windows have been preserved and we saved money! That sentence is a good story. That sentence would have been my husbands version of this blog.

When you call Jason to get an estimate on cladding your windows, let him know that you heard about his services from me!

Tina Plett,

Sutton Group-Kilkenny Real Estate



Garden Therapy (Complete With Before and After Pics)

I’m looking forward to spending some time with my flowers. … if I can find them. The crazy pace of these last months – that and the amazing amounts of rain – have kept me out of the garden. Weeds are growing tall…

Can I just say I love gardening? It’s where I do my best thinking and get the most epiphanies. After spending some time weeding and planting, I’ll come back in the house call, “Wendell! Wendell!” and proceed to bestow upon him my new found wisdom. He doesn’t seem to mind.

I don’t know what it is about putting our hands in the dirt, working with it and having it under our fingernails. Somehow, there on my knees among Daisies and the Lillies, weeding becomes thoughtful. Prayerful. Maybe it’s the quiet. Or the kneeling. Or watching the simple but miraculous growth happen for yet another year. Perhaps it’s the gratefulness of being a homeowner and having free will to plant what I want!  My dream was to plant trees and shrubs and watch them grow. It’s kind of symbolic!  When ones life has been transplanted, somehow we crave being rooted! Stability within a changing environment. Either way, it’s peaceful and refreshing, and I can’t get enough of it! I’m so glad my day off was a sunny one so I could garden!


And the results of garden therapy are clear:

Me gardening:


My favourite plant is the rocket ligularia:


Me after gardening:


I feel cleansed, content, satisfied and relaxed!

How about you? What is your therapy? What refreshes you?



The Avoidable Fee That Too Many Sellers Pay

credit card

Did you know that after someone buys your house, they can make you pay for repairs?

It’s not pleasant when it happens. The good news is that it’s completely avoidable.

When selling a property, owners must inform potential buyers of maintenance or repair issues. So, if you know that the furnace makes a noise when it starts up, the dishwasher dribbles a little, and the A/C smells like hot wires every now and then – you have three options.

Repairing the issue on your own is by far the best option. This way you are in control of what gets fixed and how much you’re willing to spend. Also, once the problem is solved, it may not need to be disclosed as an issue. This is ideal – no one wants to buy a house with a long list of disclosed ‘issues’.

Confessing the issue is an option too. This informs the buyer and removes the seller’s responsibility for repairs. The problem though, is that the buyer doesn’t want to pay full value for a house they know they will have to repair.

The third option is to pinch your eyes shut and pretend everything is fine. Don’t tell anyone and imagine that the new owner will somehow not hear the clunking furnace. This is the unfortunate choice some sellers make. It has, at times, been called fraudulent misrepresentation. The result? The buyer now must repair the broken furnace, and the seller gets to pay. Guess how frugal the buyer is going to be with someone else’s money? I know of someone who went through this recently. What could have been a $150 repair turned into a nearly $600 repair bill because someone else was in charge of deciding what it should cost.

Paying high repair bills is avoidable. By facing the issue instead of dodging it, you are in control of how much it’s going to cost you.


Have you ever been stuck with repairs on a home you bought?

How did you handle it? 



How Our New Floor Is Giving Me New Perspective


Our new floor has taught me a few things about preparing for a sale. 

I want sellers to experience a fast sale I also want buyers to be impressed with the property and fall in love immediately. To increase the chance of all that happening, I often advise clients to make some improvements before listing. I suggest they replace outdated flooring, repair what’s broken, and give everything a fresh coat of paint.

This month we’re having new flooring installed on our entire main floor. Sounds lovely doesn’t it? Easy even. I thought so anyway. So it came as quite a surprise that the whole process requires every piece of furniture to be crammed in to the basement. Everything’s weird. The fridge is in the bedroom, and there are men crawling around on the floor. There is hammering and yammering and music blaring all day. In my home. Where I work and live and am. It’s surprising how involved and demanding this whole process can be.

But I’m glad for the experience. I understand now why clients sometimes take months to prepare their home for a sale. I get how they would feel stressed out. It’s a big undertaking. Now, when I recommend improvements, I’ll be able to offer compassion. I’ll be more patient when they’re not done in two weeks. It takes time. I get it.

If you’re an agent and get frustrated with your clients ‘dawdling’ with preparations, can I just encourage you to be patient with them? It’s harder and takes longer than we realize.

If you’re in the middle of preparing for a sale and your furniture is everywhere too, I feel your pain. Hang in there – it will be worth it! In fact, the difference may be so huge, you may decide to keep the place after all!

What have you renovated recently?

The stair came down with me on it!

imageWe noticed that the stairs on our deck were rotting. We had already determined that we would need to replace them this summer. We enjoy our deck immensely. Our home is a bi level so the deck is high off the ground. The bonus to the height is that we rarely have mosquitoes joining us in our leisure time. We live on an acreage. The view from the deck gives me the same sense of retreat as sitting at a campsite! The deck is where we socialize, tan, or sometimes just sit and watch fireflies or lay and gaze at the stars.
Yesterday, I was about to make my way down the 8 steps of the deck when the stairs decided to separate from the deck entirely! The stairs dropped straight down with me on them. I screamed like a girl! My husband was using the whipper snipper for the first time this spring and did not hear me as I continued to scream for help. My legs were stuck between the fallen stair case rises. I am awaiting the radiologist test results of the x-rays as I sit with one foot in a half cast because I can’t move it without sharp pain. It’s difficult to use the crutches because the other foot is sprained and my upper spine is prone to inflammation. Pain is reverberating through my body, but my mind is more powerful than my body!

I am viewing this as an opportune time to expand my business and grow by incorporating the assistance of other agents. This has been something that I have pondered about doing since last fall. I have hesitated because It is really hard to share income! It is not hard to make money, but it is challenging to make a profit. Now that I am grounded and have a strong business plan, I feel confident to include others in my business. I don’t have it all in place just yet. Maybe I can assist someone else in becoming successful as they assist me in completing a few deals.

Back to the deck and stairs. Learn a lesson from me! All man made things have wear and tear and eventually will need replacing. By doing maintenance,you will prolong the home you enjoy and retain its market value. By procrastinating repairs, you will risk getting serious damage to the weakened areas of your home and also loose your competitive edge in the market when a sale is needing to take place. As I read that last sentence, I heard the word “weekend”. That applies too! My weekend has been dramatically altered by my fall!