Are you ready to buy?


Thinking of buying a home during this red hot spring market?   The biggest question to ponder when considering home ownership is affordability.   Take the time to determine a realistic budget, taking mortgage payments, property taxes, closing and moving costs, monthly utility and home repair and maintenance into account.

If you’re confident that buying a home is within reach, contact me, I work with a great Mortgage Broker who will help you to determine your options!

Jennifer Birch – Realtor

Winterizing your pool


If ever there was the perfect year to install a pool at home, 2016 was it! This summer brought with it fantastic weather for pool owners across Ontario. Plenty of hot, humid days and warm evenings meant lots of opportunity for enjoying a refreshing oasis in your own backyard.

Now, as the summer months wrap up for another year, it’s time to start thinking about closing the pool. Here are the steps you will have to tackle to prepare your pool for the long winter ahead.

1. Add a winterizing chemical kit to balance the water’s chemistry for the winter season. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and always take measures to protect your hands, eyes and lungs from the harsh chemicals.

2. Shock the water with an extra strong chlorine or a non-chlorine substitute to kill bacteria, and the fungi and algae that may be living in the pool. Be sure to keep everyone out of the pool for a few days.

3. Clean the pool. Remove all equipment, including ladders, baskets, filters, etc., rinse off all equipment and lay out to dry completely. Skim the pool, vacuum and brush the water line.

4. Drain the water to appropriate level. The water line should be at least a few inches below the skimmer. To avoid damage to your expensive equipment over the winter, make sure to thoroughly drain pumps, filters, heaters and chlorinators. Use a shop vac or air compressor to blow out every last drop of water.

5. Be sure to blow out the plumbing lines as well and use plugs to ensure no more water enters them.

6. Cover the pool as tightly as possible to prevent debris and rainwater from entering. You can use air pillows to hold the cover up in the centre, allowing debris and moisture to slide off.

7. After equipment has dried completely, safely store indoors if possible.

How to avoid moving day hassles


If you’re lucky enough to convince half a dozen strong, able-bodied friends to dedicate their Saturday helping you with your move, kudos to you! If not, and you’ve decided to hire a moving company, there are a few things you can do in advance to ensure that things go smoothly on the big day.

You’ve done a lot of work to get to this point, between preparing your home for sale, sealing the deal and packing up all of your worldly belongings. The last thing you need is unnecessary stress on your closing date/moving day.

First, ask around for a moving company recommendation. Check with friends, colleagues, neighbours and family for referrals. If you’re not able to get a good referral from a trusted source, check online websites like Kijiji, but proceed with caution! Ask the company to provide at least three recent references and follow-up with them. Request a meeting ahead of time to get a feel for the individual. Are they professional, prepared and courteous? Did they show up on time?

Once you’ve chosen a mover, get everything in writing. It’s the law. According to Ontario’s Consumer Protection Act (CPA), all moving contracts worth more than $50 must be in writing. Under the CPA, your contract must include:

1. The mover’s name, address and contact information

2. A description of the service(s) and their prices

3. The total cost that you will have to pay, additional charges that may apply and taxes

4. Start and end dates for the service

5. The terms of payment (cash or cheque)

Other items that should be included in the contract are size and value of items, who is responsible for loss or damage, the number of staff and vehicles that will be provided and the name of the person who holds their insurance policy.

Hopefully with a little research ahead of time, you can help ensure a stress-free moving day!

Jennifer Birch



When the weather outside is frightful, it’s time to cozy up inside. There are plenty of ways to infuse warmth into your interior without turning up the thermostat. Consider some of these simple tricks to get you ready for an incredibly cozy season!

LAYERS:  A layered look can be achieved easily when you introduce cozy throws, or some new pillows to your living room, or bedroom space. Without cluttering, find ways to layer with warm winter fabrics like wool, knits and faux fur.

RUGS:  Many people add a rug to tie a room together, but don’t forget that it can also warm up cold hardwood, or tile floors. Even the kitchen can benefit from a strategically placed rug.


TEXTURE:  Add a faux sheepskin throw over your couch or armchair. Search for patterned pieces that can give your home texture and depth. Wood is also a great addition. Look for inexpensive wood accessories like candle holders, picture frames and knickknacks.

DRAPES:  A heavy set of drapes will help keep the heat in and the cold out.

COLOUR:  Introduce a new colour palette by changing up your accessories, or add a fresh coat of paint on a feature wall. Think rusts, golds, reds, browns and greens. Don’t be afraid to go dark because it can give your room a cozy effect.

LIGHT:  Adding lamps with dimmer switches will give your room an intimate and inviting feel. Light a candle to create heat and add to the moody ambience.

BOOKS:  This may seem like a strange tip, but books have an uncanny way of making any space feel cozy. Place stacks on shelves, coffee tables, and ottomans and mix up the placement with vertical and horizontal stacks.

DEHUMIDIFIER: Removing moisture from the air eliminates that damp cold effect found in some rooms, like the basement. The air coming out of the dehumidifier is slightly warmer than it was going in.

SCENTS:  Certain smells evoke our senses in the winter months. Room sprays, diffusers and scented candles in pine, apple, cranberry and pumpkin will help add warmth to any room.

Jennifer Birch – Realtor

Should you put more money towards your mortgage payment this year?


Have some extra money and want to know whether you should put it toward your mortgage payments? Making prepayments on your mortgage could save you thousands of dollars over the years…just as long as your mortgage lender allows them. Here’s some information, courtesy of the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, to help you make the best decision.

  • A mortgage prepayment is any amount you pay in addition to your regular payments. This can include increasing the amount of your regular mortgage payments or making a lump-sum payment to reduce or pay off your mortgage balance. The sooner you can make prepayments, the less interest you will pay over the long term. For example, consider a 25-year mortgage of $150,000 with a 5.45% interest rate. Assuming the interest rate remains the same over the life of the mortgage, the monthly payments would be about $911. Increasing the payments by $50 per month would pay off the mortgage two years sooner and save $14,000 in interest.


  • A one-time lump-sum payment of $15,000 in the second year of that same mortgage would result in paying off the mortgage more than four years earlier and saving over $33,000 in interest.


  • Check your mortgage agreement first, because not all mortgages have prepayment privileges. A closed mortgage may require you to pay a penalty or fee for any prepayment.


  • Federally regulated financial institutions, such as banks, must show your prepayment options in an information box at the beginning of your mortgage agreement. It will specify whether you can make prepayments, when you can do so, plus other related terms and conditions. Read your mortgage agreement carefully, and before signing ask the lender to explain anything that you don’t understand.


When shopping for a mortgage, ask the following questions:

How much can I prepay without penalty or fee?
Is there a minimum amount for a prepayment?
When can I make prepayments?
Are there any conditions or limitations?
If there are fees or penalties, how much are they, and how are they calculated?
Want to know more? The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada has more information on this topic at


Jennifer Birch

The Importance of determining the “Sweet Spot” price

For Sale
New research from the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) shows that  3 out of 4  Ontarian’s are planning to buy a home in the next two years and they say that the listing price has a big impact on whether they want to see more of a home.

Pat Verge, president of OREA, explained that “setting the sales price is one of the most difficult and critical steps in the home-selling process. If you set your price too high, many prospective buyers won’t even look at the property.  If you set it too low, you could miss out on thousands of dollars.  The objective then, is to choose a price that is neither too low nor too high.”

Realtors use a process known as Comparative Market Analysis to determine a home’s market value. That is, they compare a property to similar homes that have sold recently or are currently on the market. Realtors also take into account other factors, such as the mood of the market, the market’s current strength or weakness, rising or dropping interest rates, employment rates, buyer confidence and competition with other homes to arrive at a realistic asking price.

“The first few weeks of the listing are the most important. The average time on market varies from area to area. However, regardless of the area, the first few weeks of any listing are important for establishing a good first impression and drawing interest. For eager buyers in a market with tight inventory levels, new listings are highly anticipated, and you can be sure that they will be paying attention to the price among other factors,” explained Verge.

The research, conducted by Ipsos Reid and commissioned by OREA for its Ontario Home Ownership Index, a semi-annual province-wide research study, also found that the features on the listing sheet (56%) and interior photos (55%) have a big impact on a buyer’s decision to want to see more of a home.  Aspects like the average household income of the neighbourhood (22%), the age distribution of the neighbourhood (23%) and proximity to a highway (29%) had the least impact.

The Ipsos Reid poll was conducted earlier this year on behalf of the Ontario Real Estate Association. A sample of 1,000 Ontarians from Ipsos’ Canadian online panel was interviewed.

Jennifer Birch – The Property Partner

For Sale: 1366 Sedgewick Crescent, Oakville


Nestled on a quiet tree lined street in South West Oakville. This gorgeous updated home with large addition features 3 + 1 bedrooms, 3 baths, fully finished basement, large deck overlooking the beautiful large yard and a double car garage. Hardwood floors throughout the main floor, pot lights, maple cabinetry and granite in a contemporary kitchen make this home a joy to entertain in. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to own this beautiful home!  $1,139,000  MLS #H3160261

OPEN HOUSE SUNDAY JUNE 28th 2:00 – 4:00 pm

Listed by Jennifer Birch (Keller Williams Edge Realty)