Pretty Patios & Balconies

Summer-Porch-with-CoffeeJune is almost here and it won’t be long before we’re enjoying our morning coffee on the front porch or catching some rays on our backyard patios! At this early stage in the season, trees and shrubs are still budding, your gardens are rather barren and you might be craving a little colour! Luckily, there are so many ways that you can add some serious style to your patio, porch, decks and backyards without spending a fortune!

For some instant green foliage, bring your indoor plants outside. May is usually a safe time to start acclimating plants to the outdoors for the summer season but be sure to bring them inside at night if it’s still cool, and don’t place them in direct sunlight for more than a few hours. Strategically place plants around the seating area, just as you would indoors.

Using fabric is a wonderful way to make an outdoor space homier. Search clearance bins for colourful throw pillows you won’t mind tossing after the summer season and find a couple outdoor rugs to really bring the space together. Place a larger, neutral-coloured rug down first, underneath your patio furniture and place a smaller, more vibrant area rug centred on top of the first to add a little pizzazz. If your space is very exposed, you can create privacy with a screen, some old shutters or a few curtain panels. Bed, Bath and Beyond sells outdoor curtains in a variety of pretty patterns that are built to withstand the elements.


A hot trend in 2017 is the vertical garden. Ideal for backyards where space is a commodity, a vertical garden will become a gorgeous focal point in your outdoor space while providing privacy, visual interest and even food! You can DIY the project using old pallets, chicken wire, wooden boxes, an old dresser, even old, plastic pop bottles! Check Pinterest for ideas and step-by-step instructions. Love to cook? Plant herbs in your vertical garden and enjoy fresh, flavourful dishes all summer long.

For the finishing touches on your outdoor space, hang some artwork or a mirror on outside walls, add some mood lighting or place a few sturdy candle holders on tables.

Jennifer Birch – Realtor

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

How to Fund your Renovation Project?



Finding money for your renovation project can be tough.  Unless Grandma is handing you money you may be stuck looking for ways to fund your renovation project.  In the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) flipping houses can be a good investment but it has to be done right without breaking your budget.


Here are some ways to help you get the money you need to get you started on your project.If you aren’t doing all the renos youself and will be hiring a contractor,ask the contractor if he/she is willing to be a partner in your venture.  You can offer them a slice of the investment in exchange for their work.  If they are interested in this investment you can be assured they will do their best work on the house.


First and foremost as I’ve said in earlier posts – make sure you come up with a very realistic budget.  One that involves the unexpected expenses that come up with every project.  You don’t want any surprises that will cost you and extra $5000 – $10,000


Do your homework!!  Know what’s going on in the market in the area where the house is located.  If there are lots of older homes that have not been taken care of it may not be worth it for you to put top dollar into your house/investment.  You know that old saying “Location, Location, Location!”  Well, this is a time to be absolutely sure that the money you put in will also get you a return.


Know where to spend your money – there’s pretty cosmetic fixes and there’s necessary fixes – Know the difference!


Contact a Realtor – they know the market better than any one else.


If you aren’t doing all the renos youself and will be hiring a contractor,ask the contractor if he/she is willing to be a partner in your venture.  You can offer them a slice of the investment in exchange for their work.  If they are interested in this investment you can be assured they will do their best work on the house.


 If you decide to use a partner make sure you have each other’s roles and responsibilities in writing to avoid blurred lines and hurt relationships.  Creating some kind of contract give each person a very clear understanding of what is expected of them and also what they will get in the end.


Now to get to the Money Part:


Talk to your bank or mortgage broker.  There are options for you to get money to use towards an investment, however there are lots of restrictions.  Borrowing on a line of credit may be one way of doing it if you can convince the lender that the return will be a good one.

In Canada we hear a lot about the Smith Manoeuvre – something you can check out. We also hear a lot about the Manulife One mortgage option – talk to your lender or Financial Advisor about how this works.  Another way is to borrow from your RRSP’s  or if you have a property with a lot of equity in it then you can get a second mortgage on it to finance your new investment.  These are just a few of the creative solutions you can talk to your lender or Financial Advisor about.  If you have the desire to get this project done then your passion will lead you to the right people.

If you have questions about the Real Estate Market or Renovations in the Burlington, Oakville or surrounding areas, contact me today.  Jennifer Birch 905-633-4607


What’s the Market Doing?


I get this question every week when I talk to people.  Everyone wants to know How’s the market? Is it stable? When is a good time to buy/sell?

In Canada we have been blessed with a very steady and stable market for the past 15-20 years with slight variations.  Our current market continues to be stable.

 Here’s a look at what happened this summer:



Sales activity was stable for July and August but posted another big year over year gain reflecting weakened demand in the summer of 2010.

For a second consecutive month, national home sales activity held steady in August 2011 when compared to July.

Toronto and Ottawa posted a monthly increase in activity while Calgary, Montreal and Vancouver saw a slight decline in activity.


YTD sales pulled ahead of 2010 levels for the first time this year, and remain in line with the ten-year average.


Stayed firmly fixed in balanced territory. There were more balanced local markets in August than at any other time on record.
 The national average price posted another year-over-year gain in August, but has moderated from elevated levels earlier this year.

Fewer expensive sales and a declining share of national activity in Vancouver and Toronto have lead to an upward tilting of the national average price.


If you are a homeowner, your home’s value has increased and if you are thinking of selling you may want to get a free home market to see what your home is worth today. 

Call me at 905-407-3274 to book your complimentary appointment.


With interest rates continuing to be low, it is a great time to talk to a Mortgage Professional.  I have information that can help you start the journey to homeownership.

Contact me to find out more.


Whether Selling or Buying in the Oakville Burlington area,

 I help you with all your Real Estate needs.”

Source:  According to statistics1 released today by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA),