JUNO Awards in the Hammer!

The 2015 JUNO Awards are only 9 days away. The awards ceremony will honour Canadian music achievements in the later part of 2013 and in 2014. This wonderful event will be taking place in our fair city of Hamilton, ON. HOW EXCITING! The ceremony takes place downtown in FirstOntario Centre over the weekend of March 14 – 15 and televised nationally on CTV March 15. GREAT NEWS is that you do not have to wait till next weekend to enjoy the festivities in the city. There are various concerts and events related to the awards taking place as soon as tonight, March 9. Actually, there have already been pop up performances in the city…..anyway, get in on the fun! Plan ahead by checking out tourismhamilton.com’s Juno Awards – TURN IT ON! section and find a complete listing of events.

I will note, one event I do plan on participating in (so long as real estate work doesn’t get in the way) is Turn It On Music Crawl. It is an enhanced Art Crawl with live performances throughout the JUNO Zone – Jackson Square, James Street North/South and King Street East/West locations. In addition to music, you will be able to snack at food trucks, enjoy local entertainment, pop into shops and galleries. James St North specifically will have 10 stages set up throughout the day and then the Art Crawl itself will begin. Don’t miss a minute on Friday March 13 from 5-9pm.

HOORAY for JUNOs in the Hammer!

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Kitchen Renovation – Difficulty Making Decision

I am a full time REALTOR. I know I have told you many times before. I see houses daily. I view old, new, retro, stylish, modern kitchens and SO MUCH MORE. When you see a kitchen you know you would want this, or that, but you would never lay it out like that, or couldn’t live without this…I could go on, but you get what I mean. It seems so easy to know what you want when it is right in front of you. I always thought my husband and I would know exactly what you wanted in a new kitchen. Let me tell you, it isn’t that easy.

I am a very visual person. I need to see IT ALL together to know how I feel. When you are putting pieces together to make a whole and all the pieces are at different locations, it was hard for me to wrap my mind around. And I am a decisive person when it comes to so many things in life. Now that I am married and want and need to share the decision making process with another person, things are much more difficult.

My husband, John and I have similar tastes, which would make it easier, but it still hasn’t been. That is not to say we don’t agree on the choices have and are making for the new kitchen. It means, there are too many choices to make and you simply want to make sure those final decisions ones you will be forever happy with. I think we will be. But, WOW! Making the design decisions was and is difficult than I truly expected.

Like anyone preparing for a renovation, you set an approximate budget. You look at photos, you set your mind or heart on a look, or colours etc. We did all that too. My husband and I decided on a white kitchen with grey accents (in tile or paint for example) and new we were going to work with our existing kitchen configuration. We had a budget in mind and we were not interested, at this point in time, to tear down walls. The big decisions made, you would think. That was all very manageable. Then, we went shopping.

After investigating different kitchen companies (5 to be exact), we settled on the newly launched IKEA kitchens. Wonderful. We went to IKEA to order. 4 hours in IKEA resulted in a full order. YEAH! 4 HRS! No one tells you how long this will take. I had a layout planned months ago when we first went to IKEA but, with the new launch, we had to start from scratch. Base cupboards now needed a slight change, a set of drawers moved, some enlarged, and then the fridge and the sink need an adjustment. 4 hrs of decision making is draining. Are you done, NO! More to come…

Choosing tile is another challenge. I love intricate detail. Colour is gorgeous. If I had my way, a room full of Portuguese tile would be a dream. However, together, John and I discussed that we may not live in this house forever. We should make choices that would appeal to any buyer coming through our property. The REALTOR in me never hides and I have taught my husband well. So, we need to love the kitchen, but not get out of control with our selection. After 7 different tiles shops, from big box stores to smaller family owned companies, we finally choose our tile…FOR THE FLOOR ONLY. Yes, samples came home and went. Yet, no concrete decision on back splash quite yet. Again, more to come…

So the decisions we have made should be great. They were not easy though. I gave you the extra short version on our progress. At this time, for those who have never renovated a kitchen before, know the variety out there can be overwhelming.

As a Realtor, my recommendations, opinions, and sometimes choices are vital to guide my clients through the buying and selling process. That comes very naturally. When it comes to me, my own life, I am always a bit nervous. I put a lot of pressure on myself. I do not know if you can relate. Hopefully you are much more decisive than my husband and I.

Regardless, the time has come for the tear down! The fun begins tomorrow evening. Expect more from my kitchen renovation very soon.

2015 – The Year of (more) Renovations

My husband and I have been living in our 1921 built home in Hamilton’s Gage Park area since spring 2013. We bought this house because it met all our needs and wants, including the fact my 6ft 4inch husband could stand in the basement and attic with EXTRA Head Space. That seems funny to some, but that matters when it comes to an old home. You don’t get that much!! There is 2.5 storeys of space, character, oh….and renovations. Like most first time buyers, we wanted to get our hands dirty. We wanted to make this house our home. Granted, we got help along the way, as we are both not overly handy, but it is still the joy of remodelling a house just for you.

Our house was used for many years as a duplex. The previous owner had started transforming the house back into a single family property. They did a good amount of work (not the best quality work). We, with the help of our families and contractors, have been renovating since we took possession. Now, I am sorry that I never posted/blogged during our first 6 weeks of renovations. I can let you know that we completed the attic space from bare flooring and visible roof rents, to a cosy living space (that we still need to furnish). We gutted the 2nd level bathroom. We now have new drywall, tub, vanity, the works! We even tore apart the basement; but that is a future project that you will see down the road via this blog. The house also got a full face lift – refinished flooring (that is to die for) and paint throughout the house.

You are now up to date!

I can happily inform you that 2015 is our year to tackle more renovations. I will share with you, my readers, all the trials, demolition, and bliss of remodeling my house. February marks the beginning of our kitchen remodel. I am over the moon excited to have a new kitchen that isn’t falling apart before my eyes.

But, before the posts commence, I wanted to share some information I found on remodeling costs, time frames, and tips. I hope to keep you in the loop of how long my renovations take, where I found the best bang for my buck etc. These articles shed some light on things you may not have considered or known. I found them helpful and I hope you do too.

First off, the image attached to the blog is a great reference for value of your renovations. I am a REALTOR of course, so I think of resale value all the time, for myself and my clients. As much as this renovation is for us, I have to always bare resale in mind. Its just what I do!
Also Check out:

The Best Way to Finance a Renobest place to start when considering a remodel/renovation

How much did your Kitchen Renovation Cost?

A Valuable Guide to Kitchen Remodelling Costs my favourite read being that I am working on my kitchen

How long is that remodel going to take? – Which I must note comes from the National Association of Realtor in the United States of America. Sorry I couldn’t find a similar one for us Canadians.

Let the kitchen remodel BEGIN!

Start 2015 with Good News about HAMILTON, Ontario

HAPPY NEW YEAR! 2015 has arrived! Where did 2014 go? No matter. Shake off 2014, begin those New Year’s resolutions, and get back to work. Or, continue to work away, in my case.

I found myself working throughout the ‘Christmas Break’. I am married to a teacher, so I felt entitled to 2 weeks off to spend with him, but that’s not real estate. My career and work hours are not ‘typical’. The real estate market in Hamilton has not cooled off, like our temperatures. 2015 is expected to be no different. So, for my first post of the year, I thought I would simply share all the good news coming out of The Hammer.

Off the top, you should read the CBC Hamilton article Boom town: Hamilton housing predicted to stay hot in 2015. ‘Hamilton was the tightest market in the country all year.’– Doug Porter, chief economist, BMO Financial Group within the article. We expect it to continue in this way. Hamilton is a great place to live and invest and is truly HOT, quoting the article, of course. Best to join the party early. Also, select the links at the end of the article for further reading. These are related pieces discussing the Hamilton condo market boom and much more.

People still view Hamilton as a gritty, steel-milled, stink hole. Growing up, I recall friends calling my hometown the ‘armpit of Ontario’. Okay, we are not shiny or smell like roses, and maybe we never will. We are a working-class community trying to clean-up. But, you cannot deny the changes that are coming and are HERE! Gentrification is giving our downtown new life. For the full read, have a gander at the Globe and Mail’s article How Hamilton is revitalizing its downtown to bring new life.

To sum it up, you need to investigate our ambitious city for yourself. See it and Hear it – Have a stroll down James Street North, Locke St South, or Ottawa Street North and the character homes in and around it. Taste it –  Then, I would highly recommend you visit one or more of the top restaurants in our city. Huffington Post’s article Best Hamilton Restaurants: Where To Eat In The Hammer is the perfect guide. Experience the difference.

Finally, after you have warmed-up to Hamilton, come invest! Give me a call, shoot me an email, or post a reply, and we can discuss your real estate options here in my hometown – Hamilton (saying it proud with a mighty fist up to accompany the cheer)!

All the best to you in 2015! There is much more to come from this proud Hamiltonian.

The Month of Holiday Cheer

December is here! The month full of holiday cheer! As the snow starts to fall outside here in Hamilton, I decided it would be great to share the best way to kick off the month and really get into the spirit of Christmas –

Christmas in Gore Park!

CHML/Y108 Children’s Fund and the City of Hamilton to bring you Christmas in Gore.

Excitement starts December 4th at 6pm, Y108’s radio personalities will be broadcasting live from Santa’s Workshop in Gore Park for their 24 in the Gore collecting new unwrapped toys, food and cash donations for the CHML/Y108 Children’s Fund Operation Santa Claus.

On Friday December 5th at 5 pm The City of Hamilton provides free miniature train and carousel rides which will start operating daily until December 24th.

At 5:30 pm we will officially light up Downtown Hamilton’s Christmas decorations including the 40’ tall Christmas Tree of Hope followed by a FREE concert by CRANK presented by CHML/Y108.

Also, walk down to: A Victorian Night in the Village!

Friday December 5 from 6-9pm in the International Village located at Ferguson Station in downtown Hamilton. 3 hours of carolers, Christmas music, horse & carriage rides (1st come, 1st served of course), and sales at shops & restaurants.
The festivities continue on Saturday, December 6th in Gore Park when the Downtown BIA hosts Santa in Gore Park for free pictures from 11:00am to 3:00pm. Start your Christmas shopping in Santa’s Village. Free refreshments will be provided by Philpott Memorial Church. The whole family will have a great time with carolling, Christmas entertainment and free crafts!

Christmas Evening Tours at Dundurn Castle

See the castle lit up for the holidays. Start in the front hall with carol-singing, then tour Sir Allan MacNab’s lavish home, and enjoy traditional Christmas treats in the historic kitchen. $27.00 admission for all ages running Dec 5-7 and Dec 19-21 from 7pm-9pm.

And that is just the start of the month folks! Check the tourismhamilton.com site for a list of other family events (The Big Sing, Model Train Weekend, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas and MORE).

So embrace the joy of the holiday season, be good to you and yours, and Happy Holidays

**image is one of my favourites from Susan Houghton Debus**

Winter has COME! Time to SHOP!!

Winter has come! It seems that everyone in the Hamilton area was a bit surprised at the winter wonderful we woke up to this Monday morning. Southern Ontario is ready for winter, whether we like it or not. So, it seems the best time to start truly thinking of the holiday season that is fast approaching.

I find the best way to get in that MERRY holiday spirit is to start Christmas shopping. I like shopping in November because the shops, boutiques, and especially malls are not unbearable, yet. If you are looking for a hand-made, unique gift, shopping at the Church/Parish/Community centre Christmas Bazaars & Fairs are the best 1st stop. It is only mid-November, but these craft events have been running since the start of the month. (Sorry I am a bit behind!) My favourite Parish craft and holiday event is at my own church, which is why I am posting now. Canadian Martyr’s is my home church and their Christmas Bazaar is THIS WEEKEND – Friday Nov 21 from 4pm-8pm & Saturday Nov 22 from 10am-2pm. Here is a sneak peak!

These hand-made children sweater, mittens, hats, scarves, slippers, AND SO MUCH MORE are exquisite, quality gems that are perfect gifts. The event also hosts some scrumptious food and activities for the little ones. Shop or just buy raffle tickets and win a gift card to a local shop or another great prize or gift. It’s a full weekend of fun.

If you can’t attend west Hamilton’s Canadian Martyr’s event, check out the Hamilton Spectator’s list via the link for other similar sales at the dozens of locations throughout the greater Hamilton area.

Happy Shopping!

PUMPKIN Carving Contest

It is my favourite time of year! I love autumn and who wouldn’t in this wonderful country, which does often have 4 true seasons. The changing leaves make every drive, walk, and/or hike gorgeous. Then there are the holidays that occur during this time of year – Thanksgiving & Halloween. I am a turkey monster and Thanksgiving is a great time to spend with family, friends, and the star being Mr. Turkey!! I eat my fill. Though Thanksgiving is wonderful and I am truly thankful for it and all that its treats, Halloween is what I truly wait for every year. I love planning my costume! I love decorating my house! And I LOVE pumpkin carving! Yes, LOVE! I thought I would share my love of Halloween with my clients. I run a pumpkin carving contest exclusively with clients and any of the amazing people in my life who are kind enough to refer me real estate business. This year is my 3rd annual contest. So far, things are running well. Deliveries are in the works. To remind my clients of the event I decided to send out a video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AL9nPOzRsBY&feature=youtu.be

This is my first ever video! I apologize for its lack of professional feel. I wanted it to be raw and straight from me. Well, I do hope I can improve upon my comfort level and delivery. Please watch and get a giggle at least. If the contest and what I do through my client appreciation program interests you, give me a call/email/post or let your friends, family, or co-works know of my service. I am never too busy for a real estate referral *wink*.

Happy soon-to-be-Halloween!