Category Archives: Tips

Saving Money, Energy, Real Estate

6 Tips For Saving Money Around Your House

Owning a home and keeping it in tip-top shape can be costly. Small costs can quickly add up and sometimes become overwhelming. Here are a few tips for saving money around your house, anytime of the year.

Tips for saving money.

1. Rent or borrow tools.

If you have a project to do but don’t have the right tools, look at renting or borrowing them. If your project is a one-time job and you won’t need the tools again once it’s finished, it doesn’t always make sense to buy them.

2. Install programmable thermostats.

This will keep your home at the optimum temperature without having the thermostats pushed up and down to extremes.

3. Seal air gaps around windows and doors.

Caulking and weather stripping are inexpensive fixes and ensure you’re not losing heat during the cooler months, or air-conditioned cool air during the warmer months.

4. Clean out vents and air ducts annually.

To prevent dust buildup and don’t block air vents with furniture. Replace furnace filters each fall so your furnace runs more efficiently through the winter.

5. Turn off the lights.

Old fashioned incandescent bulbs give off 90% of their energy as heat and only 10% as light. Turn off lights in rooms you’re not using and switch to LED or compact fluorescents to save on energy costs around the house.

6. Use a push mower to mow your lawn.

Don’t knock it until you try it! Sure it’s a bit harder than pushing an electric or gas mower, but you’ll save money on your gas or hydro expenses during the year. And it’s good exercise, especially if you have a slope in your yard.

Each of these items will save you a bit of money each month. But, add them all up and you’ll find that the savings can be significant over the course of a year.


If you’re looking to buy a new home, or have one to sell, call RE/MAX of Nanaimo today at (250) 751-1223 and one of our expert agents will be happy to help.

securing your home, travel, tips, REMAX of Nanaimo

7 Tips For Securing Your Home When You Travel

For a lot of people, a winter vacation is just what the doctor ordered. Have you thought about securing your home when you travel? How can you make sure your home is secure while you’re away for a couple of weeks enjoying the sun?

Securing Your Home

  1. Mail hold. Contact the post office and ask them to hold your mail while you’re away. Mail won’t pile up in your home mailbox, reducing the risk that burglars can easily discover their next target. The cost is minimal but the peace of mind is priceless.
  2. Snow removal. Hire a gardening company or snow removal service. Depending on where you live, you might want to consider hiring someone to either mow the lawn or clear the snow from your sidewalks and driveways while you’re away.
  3. Light timers. Buy some timers to turn on your lights at random times. This gives the appearance that someone is home and lowers the risk of someone trying to break in.
  4. Parking vehicles. Have a neighbor park their car on your driveway so the home doesn’t look empty, especially if you’re taking your car with you or leaving it the airport.
  5. Buy a safe. Buy a code-opening safe for your valuables. Locking up your jewellery, trinkets or important papers ensures they’ll still be protected when you’re away. Depending on the size of the safe you purchase, you can tuck it away where it’s not easily seen or found.
  6. Garage door. Disable the electronic garage door opener. Because garage door openers have codes, it’s possible for someone to figure out how to open the door with another remote. By disabling the system, it makes it virtually impossible for someone to gain access using another remote.
  7. Home security system. Install a home security system that you can have monitored, or that you can check yourself on your phone. You’ll be immediately notified if there’s a problem and can deal with it as soon as you become aware of it.

A lot of home insurance policies require someone check on the home every few days, so make sure you know the requirements of your specific policy. Arrange for a friend or neighbor to go in the house every few days just to make sure there are no water leaks or other issues. 


If you are considering a long term holiday and would like to rent out your home, call our in-house Property Management team at (250) 751-1223.

4 Homework stations for kids, Back To School

4 Homework Stations For Kids

School will soon be back in full swing, and the kids loaded down with homework each night. But do they have a dedicated space to get it done? Here are 4 homework stations for kids, Learn how to create a space the kids will be able to use to get the homework done, with a minimum of fuss.

Homework Stations For Kids

  1. Kitchen desk. Does your kitchen already have an area like a “phone desk”, or a spot where your countertops extend far enough to create a desk work space? This is ideal if you want to keep an eye on what they are doing. You’re also nearby to offer assistance if they get stuck on a math problem.
  2. Loft beds. These look like a typical bunkbed, except the bottom bunk is a dedicated work space to get the homework done all in one place. Work down below, sleep up top, and use the rest of the bedroom for whatever activity your child enjoys. Check out places like Staples, Home Depot or Ikea for the bed best suited for your child.
  3. Flip-down, wall mounted units. Are exactly what they sound like. These are compact units designed to fold up when not in use, making the most of a small space. They keep the kids organized, but are safely out of the way when you don’t need them.
  4. Modifying a kitchen island. Install a narrow shelf below the overhang if you are planning a renovation anytime soon that includes an island. Use a hidden power source and a place to store laptops and other homework essentials. The clutter stays hidden and the kids can do their homework in the kitchen.

Are you a handyman?

Other ideas for the handyman in the family include:

  • Converting a small closet into a work space.
  • Using chalkboards as a desktop (these are great for doing math problems).
  • Re-furbishing an old crib into a work station.

Whichever way works best for your family, be sure there’s storage space to keep supplies nearby and a trash can for any garbage the kids create. Also, make sure the desk or furniture are at a height the child won’t grow out of in the next year. You don’t want to be rebuilding the wall unit every year and it’s much easier to adjust a chair height as they grow.

Browse homework station ideas on Pinterest.

If you simply don’t have enough space to create a dedicated homework station and need to move to a bigger home, call one of our expert agents today at RE/MAX of Nanaimo at (250) 751-1223.

Your House Is Dated

6 Features That May Say Your House Is Dated!

Are you considering selling your home and are worried your house is dated? Below are some of the features that date your home, along with some tips for how to improve them.

Your house is dated if …

  1. You have popcorn or textured ceilings.

Not many things age a house more than popcorn ceilings. It’s a huge job to remove them on your own so talk to a painting contractor to see how they can help you. If you can’t afford to have them removed by a professional, a fresh coat of white paint will remove the yellowish look they often get with age.

  1. Your countertops are tiled.

If your counter tops are made up of tiles with a lot of grout lines, you know how hard it is to keep them clean. This can turn off a buyer very quickly. Installing new countertops doesn’t have to break the bank and gives the room a sleek new look. Places like Home Depot or Lowe’s sell pre-made countertops for bathrooms relatively inexpensively and they also have a great selection of kitchen counters which can often be professionally installed by them.

     TIP: To take it to the next level consider a solid surface stone countertop. 

  1. Any of you rooms have wallpaper borders.

Get rid of wallpapered boarders if you want to take 20 years off the appearance of your home and modernize the look.

     TIP: Wallpaper can add texture and a modern element to a room or feature wall. 

  1. You have brass fixtures.

While these may have been popular in the 1980’s or 90’s, todays buyers want a more neutral appearance. Brushed nickel, stainless or even black fixtures can be installed to give the area a fresh look and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Brass is making a come back though! Take a look at some of the modern brass finishes. Not quite those brass faucets we’ve seen in the past.

     TIP: Incorporate a eclectic vintage chair or brass accent into your modern decor. 

  1. Your home has wall to wall carpets.

A lot of buyers today tend to want hardwood floors. If you’re carpets are not in great shape, are badly stained or have an awful pattern on them you might want to think about getting new flooring installed. At the very least, remove any carpets in the bathrooms because that’s a sure-fire turn off for any potential buyer.

  1. Your appliances are old, worn out or strange colours.

A lot of us probably remember the old “harvest gold” or “avocado green” appliances. These age your home quickly so if you can afford to upgrade to new appliances, do it before you list the home.


This is not a complete list of things dating your home, but it’s a great starting point. Call RE/MAX of Nanaimo if you’re thinking about selling your home (even if you thing your house is dated) and one of our well qualified agents will be happy to do a home evaluation to see what your home is worth. Call (250) 751-1223 today.

4 Ways To Show Your Mom You Appreciate Her, Mothers Day, RE/MAX of Nanaimo

4 Ways To Show Your Mom You Appreciate Her

May is a time for celebrating the start of the warmer, sunnier season on Vancouver Island. It’s also a time to celebrate Mom’s and show your Mom you appreciate her. This includes Step-mom’s, honorary Mom’s and any woman who plays a “Mom” role to someone else’s kids.

So what can you do to show them your love and appreciation on Mother’s Day? Here are a few ideas that are sure to make the “mom” in your life smile.

Show your mom you appreciate her.

  1. Plant their favorite tree, shrub or plant in the garden. Every time she looks at it, she’ll think of you and remember what you mean to each other. If there are young kids at home, have them decorate or paint some colorful plant pots that Mom can use in the garden or around the house. They’ll be a unique, one-of-a-kind gift that she can use over and over again.
  2. Hire a landscaper or house cleaner to come to her house for “spring cleanup”. The gardening service can tidy up the planters, pull weeds, cut the grass, prune the trees and any other jobs that typically take place this time of year. A house cleaner can do the jobs you know Mom likes the least – cleaning the blinds and windows, organizing the garage, cleaning out the closets.
  3. Plan a family barbecue at Mom’s house. Get the whole family on board to hang out at Mom’s for the day, grilling burgers or steaks (or whatever Mom’s favorite bbq food is), relaxing and catching up on life. If everyone pitches in a bit, Mom won’t have to lift a finger and can spend the day enjoying her family.
  4. Buy Mom a spa day if she likes that kind of thing. Or get her a gift card to her favorite craft store. Whatever her favorite hobby is, get her something related to that and she’ll know you put time, thought and effort into your Mother’s Day gift.

Mother’s really do make the world a happier place so show them you love and appreciate them, in your own special way.


If you or Mom have grown out of your homes and are looking for something new, call RE/MAX of Nanaimo today at (250) 751-1223 and speak with one of our professional agents that are are also Mom’s or specialize in working with Mom’s.

Personal Notes

Does Anyone Still Use Personal Notes?

Does anyone still use personal notes? Absolutely! Who doesn’t love receiving a personal note once in a while? Doesn’t matter if it’s a thank you note, a quick “hi” from a friend or a reminder about your dental appointment. But it can also be a great way to stand apart from the crowd in business. If you want to grow your business or establish and grow relationships, who should you write personal notes to?

Who should you write personal notes to?

Clients.

Both current and past clients love to receive personal notes. You can check-in with an update, thank them for their business or let previous clients know you’re still active and happy to help them if they’re in the market for your services.

Services providers.

Thank them for the services they provide or let them know if you have a concern. Whether you’re a new customer or a long term one, they’ll be happy to hear from you.

Business you do business with or for.

Develop the relationships you have with business owners you refer people to or who you work with. It’s easy to build relationships with people you sincerely like and whose business you believe in. Sending them a personal note will leave a long-lasting positive impression.

Friends and family.

They have ideas about your life and they can also be a source of referrals or leads. Staying in touch with a quick note will not only maintain your bond, but may generate business for you down the road.

Writing personal notes doesn’t have to be time consuming but when should it actually be done? Here’s a couple of ideas for the ideal time to send personal notes.

When is a good time to send a personal note

To say thank you

If someone does something to help you or to make your life simpler or better, then send a personal thank you note.

If you receive a referral.

If you receive a referral, let the person who referred them to you know. They’ll appreciate knowing someone they referred actually made contact with you.

To follow up.

We all know you should send a thank you note to the interviewer after a job interview, but follow up notes can also be used after phone calls or meetings to clarify a point, confirm a detail or simply say thank you for your time.

When a deal or project is complete.

Once the deal is done, you can set the stage for repeat business by thanking the client or customer for their business and their trust in you.

To re-establish a previous connection.

Whether it’s a friend you lost touch with, or times are tough and you’re trying to gain new business, a personal note can help to re-establish relationships with people from the past.

Regardless of if they’re sent for personal or business reasons, a hand-written note will be remembered and appreciated long after an email or text has been deleted.


Call RE/MAX of Nanaimo today at (250) 751-1223 and speak with one of our expert agents. They’re here, ready to help you find your next new home or to sell your current one.

Ever ask yourself why your house might not be selling? In today’s market it’s not much of an issue, since most properties are selling fairly fast. But in days gone by, and no doubt, at some point in the future, the market will turn and some homes will take longer to sell. We’ve put together 7 reasons to answer the question, “what are the reasons why my house may not be selling?” What are some of the most common reasons why a house sits on the market?

Why my house may not be selling

  1. Rooms are full of junk. De-cluttering is one of the most important things you can do. Since you’re moving anyway, pack up the stuff you don’t use, don’t need, or that’s just sitting around waiting for someone to deal with and store the boxes in the basement or garage where they’re out of the way.
  2. The yard is overgrown. Prune the trees, trim the shrubs, clean up the flower beds, and cut the grass. It won’t take long, and it will greatly improve the curb appeal of the home. First impressions DO make a difference so you want the first thing people see to be your well-kept yard.
  3. It has an old kitchen or bathrooms. We’ve all heard countless times that bathrooms and kitchens sell homes. Even if you don’t have money to completely renovate, there are things you can do to improve these rooms. Paint them with a fresh new, neutral color or remove that old wallpaper. Depending on the age of the home, maybe install a new toilet, or add new fixtures like towel bars, toilet paper holder, lighting or faucets.
  4. Bad or unfinished DIY projects. Chipped paint, exposed wires and holes in walls can all deter people from buying your home. Unfinished jobs make the home appear beat up or not well maintained and no one really wants to come in behind you to clean up your mess.
  5. Bad smells from things like pets, dampness, cigarettes or even cooking. Air the place out and make sure you try to minimize bad odors as much as possible.
  6. Wet patches or stains on ceilings or walls. This implies leak issues (fixed or not), and people don’t want to have to deal with finding and fixing leaks when they purchase a home. If you have stains from old leaks that have been repaired, then paint the area so it’s clean and fresh.
  7. The home is untidy or dirty. Once your house is on the market, think of it as the neighborhood “show home”. Keep it clean, keep it tidy and people will know you’re an owner who cares about the home and has looked after it well.

There are seven great ways to answer, “What are the reasons why my house may not be selling?”

If you’re not sure where to start, ask your real estate agent. At RE/MAX of Nanaimo, our agents are experienced in helping people display their homes in the best possible light. Call us today at (250) 751-1223 and we’ll get started!

Curb appeal, Nanaimo Real Estate

How To Improve Your Curb Appeal In The Winter

While it’s easy to give your home a great look during the summer months when the flowers are in bloom, it’s more difficult to make a home look great during the cold, darker winter months. Here, we’ll take a look at a few things you can do to improve your curb appeal for your home during winter.

Improve your curb appeal

Clean up the landscaping

Prune the bushes and shrubs so that windows are visible. This lets as much daylight as possible into the home and the shrubs appear neat and well kept. Remove old flowers and weeds from the flower beds. This not only looks neater, but you won’t be faced with this task in the spring when it’s time to plant new flowers.

Sweep up leaves and shovel snow

Not only does this make the home look better, it’s also a safety issue. Guests don’t want to slip and slide their way to your front door, and in most municipalities, you’re required by law to clear the sidewalks of snow and ice. Make sure you do the driveway as well and then throw down some sand, salt or ice melt for good measure. Lastly, while you’re shoveling the snow, take a look at the eaves and gutters and knock off any icicles that may have formed.

Turn on this outside lights

Bright lighting is important in winter not just for visibility, but because it makes the home appear warm and welcoming. It is especially important to make sure the garage and porch lights are on if potential buyers are coming to view the property. During the Christmas season, have a few festive lights on the house, trees or shrubs to add even more warmth but be careful you don’t go overboard.

Put away the non-essentials

If you have kids toys, empty plant pots or lawn furniture in the yard, put them away for the winter. If you’re not using them during the winter months, it’s easy to store them away in the shed, garage or basement until spring arrives. It cleans up the appearance and if your yard is not large, it can give the appearance of more space.

Winter isn’t a bad time to sell your home and with these few simple tips, you can improve the appearance of your curb appeal in the winter, with very little cost and effort.

Planning a winter move? You wouldn’t be the first one. One of our agents will be happy to assist you in finding the right home!

4 Tips for Winterizing Your Home

Fall is here and it’ll be cooler before you know it. So what do you need to do to get your home ready for winter? Here are four key things for winterizing your home and to prepare it for the winter season!

Winterizing your home

  1. Make sure the furnace and gas fireplaces are ready to go. The best way to do this is to have a professional company service the units. They’ll replace filters, if necessary, and make sure there are no other obvious problems. If anything is wrong, they can fix it now, before the temperature drops too much. You don’t want to be the one whose furnace gives out on the coldest day of the year!
  1. Clean out the gutters and downspouts when the leaves have finished falling. Plugged up gutters and downspouts cause all sorts of problems if they overflow. Fascia or soffit damage, landscaping erosion, and roof leaks can all be avoided as long as you keep the gutters and downspouts clear. Check them at least twice a year (more if you have a lot of trees) and don’t forget the elbows and joints because these are prime spots for clogs.
  1. Blow out the irrigation/sprinkler system. If you have an underground sprinkler system, you need to blow out the water lines and shut off the water to avoid frozen lines. Pipes can crack or burst when they thaw, which can then damage your home or garden. Pay a professional to do this properly and you’ll be assured you won’t have pipe bursts in the spring.
  1. Make sure you have Ice-Melt, Sand or Salt on hand for the sidewalk and driveway. The sidewalk can get slippery from frost or ice even if it doesn’t snow, so it’s important to be prepared. Sprinkling the sidewalk with one of the noted products only takes a couple of minutes but can save a whole lot of aggravation later. You don’t want someone to slip and fall because you’ve forgotten to take care of this.

In Nanaimo, Bylaw 5000 requires that sidewalks be cleared by the homeowners within 24 hours of the snowfall. For more information, call the City of Nanaimo at (250) 758-222 or go their website at www.Nanaimo.ca, click on Departments and go to Engineering & Public Works. You can follow the links from there.

If you’re looking for your next home before winter arrives, call one of the expert real estate agents at RE/MAX of Nanaimo today at (250) 751-1223.

Technology Advancements In Real Estate

There was a time when real estate agents were the gatekeepers of all property information. Buyers would have to come to their agents with a list of their wants and preferences, and the agents would line up suitable options for them to look at. Let’s take a look at how technology advancements in real estate effect how home buyers look for homes.

Home buyers

These days, most prospective homebuyers do much of their own research online. Not only are they coming to REALTORS® with specific homes in mind but they have often done the research about which areas have the best schools, amenities and lowest crime rates as well. On one hand this sounds like it makes the REALTORS® job easier, but in some ways it does the exact opposite.

The real estate market is highly competitive and for agents to succeed they have to be constantly coming up with new and improved ways to get the attention of prospective homebuyers, by using the internet and social media in particular. The latter is a powerful way to keep existing clients informed and to catch the attention of new ones on a global scale.

Mobile technology for REALTORS®

Mobile technology itself has had a positive impact on the daily life of the average real estate agent. For example, these days with the use of laptops, tablets and even wireless printers, REALTORS® can do much of their work in the field. They are no longer chained to their desk or paper files, which means more time to spend with clients and more time researching and visiting homes for sale in person.

Handheld devices, often cell phones, can be used to take both verbal and text notes while also storing and filing photos of properties and anything else that the buyers would like to see.

There are also software programs developed specifically with REALTORS® in mind. Some will help manage appointments, while other systems provide comprehensive mobile marketing platforms that can be used by the entire team.

Technology advancements in real estate

As you can see, while current technology is adding to the competitive nature of the business, it is also simplifying it. There is more to consider and manage, but it has never been easier to keep in touch and up to date with prospective homebuyers.

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