RSS

River Realty Team’s Essential Home Safety Tips

Your home should be a paradise of security and tranquility, where you and your loved ones can feel safe and protected. With a few simple precautions and proactive measures, you can safeguard your home against potential risks and hazards. From fire prevention to burglary deterrents, we've compiled a comprehensive list of home safety tips to help you prioritize the security of your most valuable asset.

Install and Maintain Smoke Alarms:

Smoke alarms are your first line of defence against house fires because they provide an early warning in the event of smoke or fire. Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Test smoke alarms monthly and replace batteries at least once a year to ensure they're in proper working condition. Additionally, consider upgrading to interconnected smoke alarms, so when one alarm detects smoke, all alarms sound simultaneously, alerting everyone in the household.

Create an Emergency Escape Plan

In the event of a fire or other emergency, having a well-defined escape plan can save lives. Sit down with your family and create a detailed escape plan that outlines primary and secondary escape routes from each room in your home. Practice the escape plan regularly, conducting fire drills to ensure everyone knows what to do and where to go in an emergency. Designate a safe meeting spot outside the home, such as a neighbour's house or a landmark, to reunite and account for all family members.

Secure Doors and Windows

Burglars often target homes with easy access points, such as unlocked doors and windows. Keep your home secure by installing sturdy deadbolt locks on exterior doors and reinforcing doorframes to prevent forced entry. Consider upgrading to smart locks with keyless entry and remote access capabilities for added convenience and security. Install window locks or security bars on ground-level windows to deter intruders and reinforce peace of mind.

Illuminate Outdoor Spaces

A well-lit exterior can deter burglars and enhance overall home security. Install motion-activated lights around the perimeter of your home, focusing on entry points such as doors, windows, and pathways. Illuminate dark corners and shadowy areas to eliminate potential hiding spots for intruders. Consider investing in smart outdoor lighting systems that allow you to control and schedule lights remotely, even when you're away from home.

Invest in a Home Security System

A home security system provides round-the-clock protection and peace of mind for homeowners. Choose a system that includes burglar alarms, motion sensors, surveillance cameras, and 24/7 monitoring services. Display security system signage and decals prominently to deter intruders and signal that your home is protected. Some modern security systems offer remote monitoring and smartphone integration, allowing you to monitor and control your home security from anywhere.

Maintain Your Property

Regular maintenance is key to preventing accidents and hazards around the home. Keep walkways and driveways clear of debris and tripping hazards, such as loose branches and clutter. Trim trees and shrubs near windows and doors to eliminate potential hiding spots for intruders and improve visibility. Inspect and maintain household systems regularly, including electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems, to identify and address potential safety hazards before they escalate.

By implementing these home safety tips, you can create a secure and protected environment for you and your loved ones to enjoy. From fire prevention to burglary deterrents, prioritizing home safety is essential for safeguarding your most valuable asset. Take proactive measures to secure your home and enjoy peace of mind knowing that you've taken steps to protect what matters most. Stay safe!

Read

River Realty Team’s Guide to Interior Decorating

 Your home should reflect your personality and style, and with these simple tips, you can transform any space into cozy or a chic. Whether you're preparing to sell your home or simply want to freshen up your living space, we've got you covered with our advice that will help you elevate your interior design game.

Start with a Clean Slate

Before diving into decor decisions, start with a clean canvas. Decluttering not only creates a sense of space but also allows your decor choices to shine. Donate or discard items that no longer serve a purpose or bring you joy and organize what remains. A clutter-free environment sets the tone for the following steps.

Define Your Style

Interior design reflects your personal taste, so take some time to figure out your style preferences. Are you drawn to modernism, cozy farmhouse, or bohemian? Browse magazines, Pinterest boards, and interior design blogs for inspiration, and identify the inspiration that resonate with you. Once you've established this, you can find decor that aligns with your style.

Focus on Functional Layouts

Consider the flow and functionality of each space when arranging furniture and decor. Aim for a balance between aesthetics and practicality, this will ensure that each room serves its intended purpose while maintaining visual appeal. Experiment with different furniture arrangements to find the perfect layout that maximizes space and enhances usability.

The Power of Colour

Colour can transform a room, elevating mood, and personality with every shade. Choose a palette that reflects your style and complements your space such as neutrals, statement shades, or pops of color. Don't be afraid to try different colours through paint, textiles, and accessories to add dimension to your home.

Textures and Depth

Texture plays a crucial role in adding visual interest and appeal to your home. Include a variety of textures, such as soft textiles, rough wood, sleek metals, and plush rugs, to create layers of depth and warmth. Incorporating different textures adds to your decor and enhances the overall look of your space.

Accessories

Accessories are the finishing touches that tie your design project together. Choose decor pieces that reflect your personality and add that to your space, such as artwork, decorative accents, and statement lighting. Be selective with accessories, opting for quality over quantity, and curate a collection that you resonate with, after all you will have to look at it.

Natural Lighting

Lighting is a crucial element in interior design, impacting the ambiance and functionality of your space. Maximize natural light with strategically placed windows, and supplement with layered lighting solutions, including overhead fixtures, task lighting, and ambient lamps. A well-lit room not only enhances visual appeal but also creates a welcoming atmosphere for occupants and guests.

With these interior decorating tips, you can transform your home into a stylish and inviting villa that reflects your personality. If you're preparing to sell your property or simply want to refresh your living space, these expert insights will guide you in creating a place that's as beautiful as it is functional.

Read

Unlocking the Door to Financial Freedom: River Realty Team’s Guide to Boosting Your Credit Score

When purchasing real estate, your credit score is more than just a number; it's the key that unlocks the doors to your dream home. Whether you're a first-time buyer or a seasoned homeowner, understanding how to boost your credit score is crucial for securing favorable mortgage rates. We want to share the knowledge that you need to take control of your financial future. Below, we'll explore practical strategies to elevate your credit score and pave the way to homeownership.

Step One- Know Your Score:

Before boosting your credit score, it's essential to know where you stand. Obtain a copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Review the reports carefully for any errors or discrepancies that could be dragging down your score. Dispute inaccuracies promptly by either submitting the required form or requesting an investigation. This will ensure your credit profile is an accurate reflection of your financial history.

Step Two- Pay Bills on Time:

One of the most significant factors influencing your credit score is your payment history. Consistently paying bills on time demonstrates to lenders that you're a responsible borrower. By setting up automatic payments or reminders can help you never miss a due date. Even one late payment can have a detrimental impact on your credit score, so making timely payments is a top priority.

Step Three- Reduce Credit Card Debt:

High credit card balances relative to your credit limits can harm your credit score. Aim to keep your credit utilization ratio – the amount of credit you're using compared to your total available credit – below 30%. Paying down existing balances and avoiding maxing out your credit cards can help lower your utilization ratio and boost your credit score over time. You can achieve this by creating a budget, paying more than the minimum, and seeking professional help when necessary.

Step Four- Diversify Your Credit Mix:

Having a diverse mix of credit accounts, such as credit cards, installment loans, and mortgages, can positively impact your credit score. If you've only relied on credit cards, consider expanding your credit portfolio by taking out an installment loan or opening a line of credit. However, avoid opening multiple new accounts within a short period, as this can temporarily lower your score.

Step Five- Keep Old Accounts Open:

The length of your credit history is another critical factor in determining your credit score. Closing old accounts can shorten your credit history and reduce the average age of your accounts, potentially lowering your score. Instead, keep old accounts open and active, even if you're not using them regularly. This demonstrates a long-standing credit history and can boost your score over time.

Step Six- Monitor Your Credit Regularly:

Keeping an eye on your credit is important for identifying any changes or suspicious activity. Take advantage of free credit monitoring services such as Credit Karma or subscribe to a credit monitoring service such as Credit Score Monitoring to receive real-time alerts of any significant changes to your credit report. Addressing any issues that arise as soon as they happen, can help prevent them from negatively impacting your credit score.

Your credit score is a powerful financial tool that can either open doors to opportunity or create obstacles on your path to homeownership. By implementing the strategies outlined above and working diligently to improve your creditworthiness, you can set yourself up for success in the real estate market. At River Realty Team, we are here to support you every step of the way on your journey to achieving your homeownership dreams. Unlock the door to financial freedom today by taking control of your credit score.

Read

Hey Brant County! Movies in the Parks is Back, and here’s why you don’t want to miss out!

Movies have a unique way of transporting audiences to different worlds. In the age of digital streaming, the movie experience has evolved, but there's something timeless and special about watching a film under the open sky, surrounded by friends, family, and neighbors. This is where Brant Movies in the Parks steps in, offering a delightful blend of entertainment and community spirit.

Brant Movies in the Parks isn't just about screening films; it's about community. Held in outdoor settings across Brant, Ontario, these events bring people of all ages together for an evening of enjoyment. Whether it's a classic, a blockbuster, or a family-friendly film, there's something for everyone at Movies in the Parks.

One of the most remarkable aspects of Brant Movies in the Parks is its ability to engage the community. These events are often organized by local authorities, community groups, or businesses, with volunteers pitching in to make everything run smoothly. Every aspect of the event is a collaborative effort, showing the community's strength and unity. As a team, we understand community as we have proudly sponsored Brant Movies in the Parks for over 12 years and will continue to for as long as we can.

 For families, Movies in the Parks offers an opportunity to spend quality time together. Parents can pack snacks, bring blankets, and cozy-up with their little ones to enjoy a movie under the stars. It's an experience for families to be in a relaxed environment, surrounded by the laughter and chatter of their peers.

The memories forged at Movies in the Parks last a lifetime. Whether it's a first date, a family outing, or friends gathering, these events allow for countless memorable moments. From sing-alongs to shared gasps, every experience is a reminder of the joy that comes from coming together as a community.

Brant Movies in the Parks are more than just outdoor film screenings; they're a celebration of community and connection. As the sun sets and the screen lights up, residents of Brant County gather to share laughter, tears, and the pleasure of watching a movie under the open sky. So, grab your popcorn, find a comfy spot on the grass, and immerse yourself in the magic of Brant Movies in the Parks.

Read

Are you ready to dive into the vibrant tapestry of community life? As your trusted real estate partner, we're excited to present the Spring edition of our Local Events Calendar! Whether you're a long-time resident or a newcomer eager to explore, there's something for everyone in our diverse and dynamic community.


Spring Festivals Galore

As the weather warms up, our town comes alive with an abundance of spring festivals celebrating everything from art and music to food and culture. Join us on May 25th and 26th for the Paris Smokin’ Hot Sauce Expo & Great Canadian Butter Tart Fest at the Paris Fairgrounds. Where artisans showcase their talents against a backdrop of live music, food trucks, beer garden, and more. Then, mark your calendars for the Spring Festival on May 25th and 26th, where you can savor a mouth-watering array of gourmet delights while enjoying live entertainment under the sun.


Family-Friendly Fun

Looking for family-friendly activities to enjoy with your little ones? Look no further! On June 2nd, pack a picnic and head to the Burford Fairgrounds for an afternoon of outdoor fun for the Kiwanis Teddy Bear Picnic 2024, featuring activities for the kids to enjoy. And don't forget to join us for Movie Night in the Park throughout the summer, where you can cozy up under the stars and enjoy a family-friendly film on the big screen.

  

 

Fitness and Wellness

Ready to get moving and stay active this June? Pump up your tires and join us for the St. George Lions Club Bike Rodeo and Paris Community Safety Group Annual Bike Rodeo on June 8th. Whether you're a seasoned or casual biker, this event is a fantastic opportunity to enjoy obstacle courses and tips on bike safety, while staying fit and healthy. The bike rodeo in St. George takes place at the Gaukel Memorial Community Centre and the Paris location is at the Syl Apps Community Centre.

 


At River Realty Team, we believe in fostering strong connections within our community. That's why we're proud to support a variety of local events and initiatives that bring neighbors together and celebrate the unique spirit of our town. From Bike Rodeos to Festivals and Family Adventures, there are countless ways to get involved and make a positive impact in our community. 

With so many exciting events happening this Spring, there's never been a better time to explore all that our community has to offer. Be sure to stay tuned to our Local Events Calendar for the latest updates and announcements about upcoming events, activities, and happenings in our area. Whether you're looking for family-friendly fun, fitness and wellness opportunities, or simply a chance to connect with your neighbors, we've got you covered!

We're not just passionate about helping you find your dream home – we're dedicated to helping you live your best life in our wonderful community. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you make the most of your experience here. Let's make this Spring one to remember together!

Read

Let's reflect on 2023, which is now officially in the books. The major highlights were the buzz about interest rates going up and home prices going down. Let's break it down.


Despite all the chatter about interest rates, the actual increase in the Bank of Canada's key lending rate was only 0.75%. Most of the 2.5% increase from the market's peak in 2022 took place in 2022. Interestingly, towards the end of 2023, many lenders started lowering their fixed mortgage rates. I've even heard of lenders offering sub-5% interest rates on 5-year fixed mortgages for prime borrowers.


As for home prices, they hit their highest point in February or March of 2022 and then took a noticeable dip of around 20-25%, depending on the property type and location. The news throughout 2023 made it sound like the market was still on a downward spiral. However, here in the Brantford Region, our sale prices stayed pretty stable throughout the year. In January 2023, the median was $650,000, and the average was $674,989. By December 2023, the median was $660,000, and the average rose to $755,207. It's a different story from what the headlines might suggest.

 

Observing the market daily, it's easy to notice some properties taking longer to sell, making it seem like the overall market is struggling. ⏳ The average days on the market in the Brantford Region is currently 30, which might not be the most promising trend, but it's still much lower than the pre-2021 norm. Back in 2009, when I started selling real estate, the average days on market was around 90.

One key observation from my team and me is the importance of good marketing and experience. When properties didn't sell as quickly, some complained about the costs of keeping homes on the market. In response, we doubled down on providing what we believe is the best marketing and exposure for our clients. Negotiations are back in play, and our experience has proven invaluable in helping our clients navigate the market successfully.

 

Looking ahead to 2024, I don't have a crystal ball , but I do believe it'll be a year of growth for the market after a year of uncertainty and stagnant prices. In 2023, we closed the year with homes selling for 97.8% of their asking price within 30 days, averaging $755,207 – overall, a good year. Despite the usual quiet in December, our team closed several deals, indicating strong interest from buyers and pleasantly surprised sellers.

There's talk of the Bank of Canada reducing its key interest rate in 2024, possibly starting as early as April. Economists are predicting a 0.75% decrease to 4.25% by the end of the year through three 25% reductions. This will attract more buyers to the market, although some might be tired of hearing Realtors saying “now is the right time to buy”… Still, I believe we'll look back at the beginning of 2024 and think those were pretty decent prices. As interest rates drop, more buyers, especially investors who have struggled to make numbers work on investments, will return to the market. This influx will ultimately push prices up, with estimates ranging from 5-10% by the end of the year.


Real Estate as it should be… In 2022, we established the River Realty Team with a vision to assemble a group of like-minded professionals dedicated to delivering the absolute best for our clients. Whether you're buying, selling, or leasing, we bring a wealth of experience to guide you through every step. Our commitment to pushing marketing boundaries and exploring innovative styles ensures increased visibility for your properties.

One of the things that sets us apart is our unwavering dedication to continuous improvement. Through weekly team meetings, we engage in training, meticulously dissect market data, and physically view newly available properties. This proactive approach allows us to stay sharp and knowledgeable about the current market trends, ensuring that our clients benefit from the most up-to-date insights.

By consistently challenging and educating ourselves on negotiation styles and tactics, we maintain a leadership position in the real estate industry. Our insights extend far beyond our newsletter, offering a depth of knowledge that sets us apart.

Your network seamlessly integrates with ours – if you or anyone you know is contemplating a move, let's establish a connection! Reach out today, and together, let's transform your real estate aspirations into triumphant achievements.

I can’t wait to show you some of the stuff we have in store for 2024!

Read

We find ourselves within the traditional fall market, and I've been fielding inquiries from many of my clients regarding the duration of this active market phase. Typically, we experience an active real estate market through late November or early December. However, adverse weather conditions or, worse, higher interest rates could potentially bring this period to a premature close. Fortunately, the Bank of Canada opted not to raise interest rates during their September 4th announcement, allowing the market to maintain a stable pace.

The next announcement is scheduled for October 25th, and as is customary, opinions within the industry and among homeowners are divided on what to expect. A decrease in rates appears highly unlikely, which is why there is a sense of hope in that direction. More realistically, we are likely to either witness an increase or the maintenance of the current key interest rate. 

Are the alarm bells ringing causing concern? According to the CEO of the world's largest bank, JPMorgan, we might be in one of the most perilous periods the world has witnessed in decades. This apprehension stems from "extremely high government debt levels" and the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict. It's essential to recognize that changes in the real estate market can originate from various sources, and while local factors like population growth and interest rates play a significant role, global developments also reverberate locally.

In the Brantford and Brant County region, the real estate market in 2023 has exhibited a relatively steady trajectory, with a more standard increase in the early spring, maintaining stability throughout the summer months. In September 2023, the median selling price for a detached home in the area hit $700,000 precisely, marking a $15,000 increment from the previous month. September 2022 appears to have marked the low point following the peak in March of that same year. Currently, the median sale price is $70,000 higher than in September 2022 but remains $202,000 lower than the March 2022 peak, where the average detached home sold for $902,000 in our region.

Overall, it's my belief that our local market will remain relatively stable in the upcoming months. Those most adversely affected are likely to be individuals who purchased homes near the market peak, especially if they need to sell in the current market conditions. Additionally, those who acquired new construction homes early in 2022 and were banking on those prices remaining high may encounter challenges closing if they have not sold their home already. The rise in interest rates has diminished the purchasing power of buyers, necessitating a decline in prices. A mere 25 basis point increase translates to around a $15 monthly payment increase for every $100,000 borrowed. Although this may not seem drastic individually, it can accumulate, potentially pushing buyers already stretching their budgets out of the market.

Read

Similar to most holidays, simplicity is often the key when it comes to selling your home during Halloween. Opt for understated decor such as pumpkins, mums, and subtle autumn scents to enhance the seasonal ambiance and create a warm and inviting atmosphere. Try to minimize the presence of ghosts and goblins.

During the fall season, it becomes even more crucial to have your blinds open and all lights turned on. As the days grow shorter and the weather gets drizzly, maintaining a well-lit interior is essential. While a pleasant aroma can be appealing, it's advisable to use it sparingly, as overpowering scents may raise concerns among potential buyers about masking underlying issues. Consider using a crock pot to fill the home with the comforting aroma of an autumn chili.

For exterior decorations, a few tasteful fall embellishments can work wonders. However, ensure that pathways and stairs remain clear and easily accessible. Keep these areas free from leaves, and tend to the garden to prepare it for the end of the season.

Amidst the changing leaves and cooling weather, it's vital to prepare your home for the autumn season. Here are some valuable maintenance suggestions:

  1. Clearing Gutters: Remove leaves and debris from your gutters to prevent blockages and potential water damage.
  2. HVAC Inspection: Arrange a professional assessment of your heating system to ensure it's in peak working condition for the colder months.
  3. Draft Check: Seal any gaps or cracks in doors and windows to enhance energy efficiency.
  4. Lawn Maintenance: Rake leaves, aerate your lawn, and apply fertilizer to encourage healthy grass growth.
  5. Outdoor Tidy-Up: Store outdoor furniture and ready your garden for winter.
  6. Safety Review: Test smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, and replace batteries as needed.

By following these steps, you'll safeguard your home and uphold its value throughout the fall and winter seasons

 
 
Read

We are thrilled to share more exciting news with you all. Our team has launched a brand new suite of technology tools to better serve you, and we can't wait for you to check them out!

Our team website is now fully functional, and it's packed with the latest listings, market information, and our team blog. But that's not all! We are also launching our brand new podcast/vlog called "Real Talk w/ the River Realty Team" very soon. You can stream it on our YouTube channel and Facebook page, and we'll also be posting smaller clips on Instagram and Tik Tok. And if you're always on the go, don't worry, we've got you covered! Our podcast will be available in a traditional format so you can tune in during your daily commute or whenever you have some downtime.

We promise to bring you quick, informative, and entertaining insights into the market, along with a few laughs along the way. We can't wait to share this exciting new project with you, and we hope you love it as much as we do!

And that's not all! We've even onboarded a Client Care Specialist to help us provide the highest standard of service to all of our clients. We take pride in delivering the best possible experience for you, and we rely heavily on referrals to help grow our business. So if you know anyone who could benefit from our exceptional service, please put us in touch. We'd love to help them find their dream home or sell their property quickly and efficiently.

Thanks for being a part of the River Realty Team family, and we can't wait to continue serving you with our new suite of technology tools!

Read

Tax Tip!
Hey First Time home owners from 2022‼️ Did you know there's a tax credit just for you? The FTHB (First Time Home Buyers) tax credit allows you to claim $10,000 on your taxes for a return of $1,500

Make sure to let your accountant know you bought your first home last year, or if filling out your taxes with a program be sure to click "yes" when asked if you bought your first home in 2022

Pro Tip: Even if you owned a home in the past you still may qualify for this credit... If in the previous 4 years you haven't owned a home this now may apply!
 
If you want more information contact the River Realty Team. Real estate as it should be... 
Read
The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS®, and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are member’s of CREA. The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by CREA and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.