Archive for May, 2013

Drive-by Delight or Disaster?

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013
Drive-by Delight or Disaster? | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamWhen you drive up to your home in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or the Edmonton area, do you feel proud of the way it looks?  Or is your home looking a little shop-worn and tired compared to other homes in your neighborhood? 

If you are thinking of putting your home on the market, it’s time to do something about the state of its curb appeal.  In today’s market your home is in competition with every other home for sale and it needs to stand out from the rest with a good first impression.

Maybe you’ve got a long list of face-lift and landscaping projects you’ve been putting off because you don’t want to spend 1000s of dollars.  Is it possible to do a few fairly simple and inexpensive things to make your home look attractive to would-be buyers so they will at least slow down for a second look? 

One of the most noticeable and least expensive fix-ups, especially if you do it yourself, is new paint.  If your home has paintable siding, consider freshening up the look with a new fashionable color.  It’s possible to be trendy while still coordinating with other homes in your neighborhood.  If your home has vinyl or metal siding, give it a good cleaning and paint all the trim with a color that complements the color of your roof.   

As with the interior of your home, clean and tidy goes a long way to impressing potential buyers and luckily doesn’t cost much.  Here are a few things to consider:

  • Clean and shine everything.  Windows should sparkle, metal trim such as house numbers and door hardware should be tarnish-free, front porch should be clear of dirt and debris, driveway oil spots need to be banished, brickwork should be freshened, and so on.
  • Get rid of the clutter.  Kids’ bicycles tossed down next to the driveway, leftover building supplies at the side of the house, bundled up newspapers and bottles waiting to be recycled – all of this needs to go.
  • Manicure your yard.  Trim your lawn neatly, dig up any stray weeds, use an edging tool and string trimmer (“weed whacker”) for tidy borders.  Give your shrubs a haircut and tidy up the flowerbeds.  Consider some colorful flowering plants in pots or planters to add a few spots of brightness and cheer to the yard.  In the fall, rake up fallen leaves, and in the winter, keep your sidewalks and driveway clear of snow and ice.
  • Repair any visible shortcomings, such as broken light fixtures or windows, loose shingles, crooked downspouts, falling-down fences, driveway cracks, uneven sidewalk blocks, and the like. 

How welcoming is your front entryway?  Staging your front porch with a few accessories, just as you would your living room, is going to make homebuyers want to look inside.  Paint or replace your front door, or even just the door hardware, mailbox, light fixtures, etc., with something more modern (another fairly inexpensive change).  It may seem a little cliché but a welcome mat on the porch and a wreath or basket of flowers on the door really do click with many homebuyers.  If there is room on your porch, items such as a flower-filled planter or rocking chair can add a great deal of charm to an otherwise nondescript area.  Other things to consider:  attractive new railing, striped retractable awning, ivy-covered trellis, hanging floral baskets… 

While it may cost you a little money and time to improve the curb appeal of your home, it’s definitely worth it.  It’s been shown time and again that a home that looks well-maintained and cared for sells faster and for a higher price. 

For more ideas, take a look at my Curb Appeal Pinterest board

Comments or questions about this article?  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at, or contact me here.


Apartment Dwellers, You Need Insurance!

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Apartment Dwellers, You Need Insurance! | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamWe hear about it all the time but this time the devastation hit a little close to home, affecting the daughter of one of my clients in the Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and Edmonton region.  On Thursday, May 9, 2013, 36 units of the Sonora Apartments in Stony Plain were destroyed by fire, leaving 50 people homeless and wondering how they’ll survive with all their possessions gone.  $4 million in damage is the estimate, and the probable cause of the fire is “improper disposal of smoking materials.” 

It’s hard to imagine the horror and hopelessness experienced by the victims of this tragedy.  What makes it worse is that most of the people living in the apartment complex did not have insurance which could have minimized a great deal of their suffering. 

If you are a renter, please give yourself the gift of property insurance known as Renters or Tenant Insurance.  The cost is small and the benefit is huge. 

What does Tenant’s Insurance cover?

An excellent pamphlet from the Insurance Bureau of Canada entitled “What is Tenant’s Insurance?” explains that Tenant’s Insurance covers 3 main areas:

  • Replacement of personal belongings of all kinds, if stolen, damaged or destroyed by fire, water and the like.
  • Costs for temporary accommodation, meals, transportation, moving costs, etc. while your home is being repaired.
  • Liability coverage in the event that you cause damage to the property or to people visiting the building.

(Keep in mind that each policy will have its own rules, exceptions and limits as to what is covered and what compensation for damage there may be.) 

How much does Tenant’s Insurance cost?

When you hear how little Tenant’s Insurance costs, you’ll probably be shaking your head as I did, wondering how people could possibly think that not having this type of insurance makes sense.  Or maybe, as Dayle of The Co-operators Insurance Company in Spruce Grove suggests, they just don’t know it exists.  She says that for roughly $15,000 worth of coverage (and that includes some provision for living expenses and standard liability coverage) the cost is only $200 per year!  Surely one’s peace of mind is worth that much, and if you ever need to make a claim, there’s no question that getting your life back to normal quickly has to be worth putting that amount in your budget, right along with food, clothing and rent. 

For more information about property insurance, see my blog article ”Property Insurance: Are You Covered?”   

I welcome your comments or questions.  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me, or contact me here

Barry Twynam, Realty Executives Leading
#1 14 McLeod Avenue, Spruce Grove, Alberta, T7X 3X3
Tel: 780-962-9696 Cell: 780-910-9669 Fax: 780-962-9699
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