The downtown area of Burlington was originally a land grant given to Joseph Brant by which king? How large was the grant?
The grant was presented to the Mohawk war chief for his services during the American Revolutionary War by George III. It consisted of 1,380 hectares (3,450 acres) on the lakeshore overlooking Lake Geneva (Hamilton Harbour), Lake Ontario and the Beach Strip. The tract of land became know as Brant's Block.
In October 2013, I did something that I have never done during my career in real estate.
I listed my own house for sale. I now have a great deal of empathy for all of my clients, past, present and future. I’ll apologize now, to all of you. It’s not easy to get your own personal surroundings ready to be critiqued by the general public.
I spent weeks preparing my old home for its debut. The preparation could have gone on for many more weeks, but I was running out of good selling time. Walls and trim had to be touched up with paint. Light bulbs had to be replaced to make rooms brighter. Furnishings had to be rearranged or removed, to make rooms look larger. Cupboards had to be sorted, cleaned and rearranged. The gardens had to be cleaned and tidied. The driveway and parking area had to be cleared of leaf debris - almost daily.
Finally, the day came for my photographer to come by and take the images for the website and feature sheets. Preparing for that is challenge again. The last minute and finishing touches had to be in place. Fresh flowers in a few strategic spots. Seasonal garden décor and plantings were put into place. The pond and water fall needed to be cleaned and then turned on to full capacity. Then I had to remove my two cats, so they wouldn’t show up in a few of the photos. Here's the finished result:
In early January, I had a phone call from a potential buyer of my own personal house. The buyer asked some good questions about the house including updates and potential zoning for commercial usage. Then she wanted to book a showing to see it in a few hours that [...]
In early January, I had a phone call from a potential buyer of my own personal house. The buyer asked some good questions about the house including updates and potential zoning for commercial usage. Then she wanted to book a showing to see it in a few hours that day. It gave me a few hours to prepare the house for a showing. The house is generally in good shape for a quick showing request. However, I had been doing a bit of packing and sorting recently, so I had messed up a couple of rooms, which are normally left in good order. As well, there is always the issue of dealing with my two cats for a showing. Generally I try to remove the cats from the house during a showing. That way people can focus on the house and not be bothered by two attention starved cats. So I picked up and put away what needed to be done in the house. Vacuumed the porch, swept the basement, and swiffered the wood floors. I made an attempt to put salt down on the treacherous ice on the driveway and sidewalk. Then walked around the house and turned on every single light I owned.
The buyers arrived promptly and were very pleasant people. They asked if they could look around on their own. Three minutes later, they were done. Clearly the house was not for them. As a real estate agent, I understand that. As a home seller, I was disappointed and frustrated that I'd spent all that effort and time getting it ready for a showing, for no good reason. However, the logical person inside of me says that you never know who the right buyer will be and you have to put out the effort no matter what.
I hope the new buyer appreciates the effort that I take to show off my house.
It's a thing of beauty when all the planning and work that precedes a new listing, ends up with a quick sale. In December 2013, I met with my seller clientsand began the process to have their home ready to list [...]
It's a thing of beauty when all the planning and work that precedes a new listing, ends up with a quick sale. In December 2013, I met with my seller clientsand began the process to have their home ready to list in mid-January. We looked at a calendar and decided the right week to list, based on their work schedules and the preparation work needed at the house. Of course, we had to work around the family events and social entertaining calendars of the holiday season as well. We decided on the tasks that needed to be completed inside the home and then arranged for my home stager to make some suggestions, as well. The sellers worked diligently and checked off their 'to do' list. We then booked the photographer to come through and take professional photos. We met and went through all the paperwork necessary to get the home on the MLS system.
The day before the listing was to become 'live' was a busy day getting the data ready to input on the MLS, preparing the feature sheets, organizing the signs, setting up the internet and web presence. Listing day arrives and the house is in perfect shape. The listing is loaded on MLS and is 'live' at 9 AM. A showing was booked almost immediately. Then 4 more showings were booked for that day. By 11:30 AM, an offer was registered. I contacted the seller and told him. Then a flurry of emails and phone calls to my office ensued from other agents, with questions about this new listing. Quickly, 2 more offers were registered and a presentation time of 6:30 PM was booked with the seller to review the offers. By 6 PM, we had four offers registered. The sellers were very excited! By 7:30 PM that evening, we had reviewed all of the offers and had chosen a winning offer. The house had sold firm, for more money than they had listed for.
It’s always exciting when more than one offer comes in for a newly listed house. Of course as a Realtor, we love it when this happens. It usually means (but not always), that our seller clients will get exactly what they wanted, and then some. The important part for [...]
It’s always exciting when more than one offer comes in for a newly listed house. Of course as a Realtor, we love it when this happens. It usually means (but not always), that our seller clients will get exactly what they wanted, and then some. The important part for me, is to ensure careful communication to both the sellers and the agents who are representing the buyers. The agents are entitled to be kept abreast of all other registered offers as I hear about them. The agents only get to know that there is another agent who has registered an offer. They are not to be given any other information about the contents of the other offers. In Ontario, we practice what is called a ‘blind bid’ process. Our buyers are told to put their best foot forward in their offer, as they may not have an opportunity to negotiate aspects of their offer.
The seller has several options to choose from. The agents who represent the buyers are invited to the negotiating table with the sellers to present their offer, one at a time. Usually we have them present in the order in which they communicated their signed offer to me. (Note, that no other agents are present at the table, except for the presenting agent. All information is kept secure and confidential). The sellers and I will politely listen to the offer and ask the buyer’s agent any pertinent questions. Then we put the offer aside, and invite the next agent in to present their offer. When all the offers have been presented, the sellers must review and decide what to do with the offers. Often, there is one offer which is quite a bit better than the other(s). If this is the case, the sellers may choose this offer to accept or to work with it, and the other offer(s) are sent home. Sometimes, offers are presented and are quite similar. This makes for a difficult decision. What a seller can do is to communicate to the buyer’s agent that the offers are similar, and to ask their buyers if they are able to ‘improve’ their offer. That gives the buyer the opportunity to change an aspect of their offer (or not). This could include offering more money, or changing a condition in their offer. Then the offers can come back to the table to be reviewed again by the sellers. In the end, one offer is chosen to purchase the house. In the best case scenario, the seller will receive their asking price or better, the closing date they prefer, as well as either a shortened condition or no conditions at all.
The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation YARD SALE FOR THE CURE is taking place on May 26, 2012 beginning at 5:30 AM till noon. The sale takes place at 241 and 242 Plains Rd East as well as the Holy Rosary School parking lot and the adjacent field to the east. [...]
The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation YARD SALE FOR THE CURE is taking place on May 26, 2012 beginning at 5:30 AM till noon. The sale takes place at 241 and 242 Plains Rd East as well as the Holy Rosary School parking lot and the adjacent field to the east. Donations for the sale are being accepted in mid-April. PODS will again be dropping off a unit for storage of items prior to the sale. If you have any questions, call my office manager, Elaine Gowman at 905-633-4621. See you bright and early on May 26th.
Zoning You’ve likely heard of Zoning By-laws. In the US, they’re called zoning “ordinance’s”. Zoning By-laws are the teeth that give force to a municipality’s land use plans. For most people buying a new home, Zoning holds little relevance. However, for those who are expanding their [...]
You’ve likely heard of Zoning By-laws. In the US, they’re called zoning “ordinance’s”. Zoning By-laws are the teeth that give force to a municipality’s land use plans.
For most people buying a new home, Zoning holds little relevance. However, for those who are expanding their home, or building a new one, Zoning is something that they likely will learn very well.
Zoning By-law’s are restrictive tools rather than permissive tools – meaning that they tend to tell you what you can’t do rather than what you can do. As their name implies, they divide land into various zones, each defined by its category of land use – residential, industrial, commercial, institutional, green spaces, or a mix of each – and sets out what specific land uses are permitted – I.e. single family homes vs. apartment, eat-in restaurants vs. take-out restaurants or drive-thru’s, etc.
Zoning influences the pattern of lots by setting their maximum size and minimum frontage. These two factors play a major role in defining the character of any particular neighbourhood. For those of you who may not have noticed it before, walk down any residential street and observe how the width and size of lot determines the neighbourhood’s nature and how it feels. Beyond this, Zoning tends to focus on regulating the shape and mass of buildings on each lot. It defines a ‘building envelope’ – a n imaginary box that buildings must be built within – by establishing minimum setbacks for all buildings from each lot line, and a maximum height. It sets out how large a building can be within the envelope by limiting its density – i.e. how many sq ft of floor area. This is usually measured as a ratio of the lot area. It limits how large the ground floor of each building may be by stating the maximum area it may cover. Among other things, Zoning also sets out other standards like how much parking, and landscaping required and where it much goes.
While Zoning is designed to accomplish many things, its fundamental goal is to ensure the compatibility of land use in a neighbourhood. Every municipality has a land use plan and policies with guide development. If you are planning an addition or a total re-use of your land, your first stop needs to be at the Zoning department of your local City Hall.
Here's Patsy Graham's (Leslie's assistant) latest project on her new house:
Things to consider when you opt out of hiring a painter Approaching the FIFTH month of painting in our brand new "blended families" home. Construction started in February and I'm sitting here realizing there are probably still [...]
Here's Patsy Graham's (Leslie's assistant) latest project on her new house:
Things to consider when you opt out of hiring a painter
Approaching the FIFTH month of painting in our brand new "blended families" home. Construction started in February and I'm sitting here realizing there are probably still over 1000 nail holes I still need to fill in and sand. REMEMBER: All rough edges and trim MUST be sanded. Majority needs to be caulked.
EVERY surface needs to be painted, once with primer and possibly three coats of paint. When your hands are red and raw, and your back is so sore you can't stand straight reconsider the painter! ....and then there is the outside. HELP!
Every year for the past 5 years, we’ve hosted a yard Sale for the Cure, to benefit breast Cancer research. We raised $15,527 in one day!!! It’s grown from a small sale in my front lawn, as I emptied some of my own personal junk, to the most recent sale, [...]
Every year for the past 5 years, we’ve hosted a yard Sale for the Cure, to benefit breast Cancer research. We raised $15,527 in one day!!! It’s grown from a small sale in my front lawn, as I emptied some of my own personal junk, to the most recent sale, which was held on 3 different sites around my home. It’s a massive amount of work, with a great return of dollars, which go directly to the Breast Cancer Foundation. The planning begins at least 6 months before the date (on the last Saturday of May).
What struck me this year, was the generous outpouring of community involvement. We’ve always had a core group of friends and neighbours, who have always helped out in whatever sort of fundraising any of us are involved in. However, this past year saw large change in the sort of volunteers who helped out. The Aldershot Lions club supplied us with their local talent. They’ve given us an invaluable amount of time in sorting, organizing and pricing all of the items as the donations rolled in. Their time and labour were invaluable during the set up on Friday night and during the sale itself on the Saturday. The Lions club is always about helping out their community and they certainly did their fair share during the yard sale.
Beyond the Lions club, we had absolute strangers calling us to ask if they can help out at the sale. From young to old, we had in excess of 50 individual people help us out! Everyone has their own reason for helping out. Several teenagers came in order to get their mandatory volunteer hours completed. Some college and university kids came out to assist us as part of their programs (ie. event planning and police services). One woman called because she is a volunteer at our local hospital and her volunteer hours were recently cut back. She simply wanted to do something more for her community. We had volunteers who had lost a friend or family member to this terrible disease and wanted to help raise money for a cure.
The caliber of product donated was also higher than we’ve seen in the past. We had lots of new merchandise donated, as well as lots of large furniture and household goods. All of this helped tremendously towards our goal. We even had several companies ‘sponsor’ the event. All in all, it made for a tremendous day. Burlington is rated as the third best city to live in, in Canada. However, in my eyes, Burlington is the best place in Canada to live in, due to its sense of community and giving. Thank you Burlington!