10 Ideas for Hosting an Outdoor Dinner Party in Summer

10 Ideas for Hosting an Outdoor Dinner Party in Summer

When it’s summer in the Okanagan, it’s time to take advantage of the beautiful outdoor weather as much as possible. Hosting an outdoor dinner party is a fun way to do that, and it will mix up your next event with friends and family. Here are our top 10 ideas for hosting your own outdoor dinner party in summer. 1. Cozy up against the evening chill. Provide your guests with plenty of blankets, heat lamps or even set up the table by a fire pit if you have one to protect against the chill in the air as the evening goes on. 2. Add fresh decor. An easy way to decorate is by placing fresh-cut flowers in re-usable mason jars. You can then send them home with guests after dinner as party favours! 3. Add enough lighting. String lights, candles, and little tea lights add both a dreamy ambiance as well as some much-needed light as the sun begins to go down. 4. Keep bugs at bay. Invest in some good citronella candles and provide your guests with bug spray or bug wipes to keep mosquitoes away. You can also use upside-down cupcake covers as drink covers to keep bugs out – just punch a hole through the middle for a re-usable straw and you’re set! 5. Have a backup plan. Check the weather ahead of time and try to schedule for a clear evening. But if there’s a chance of rain, have a backup plan readily available, such as moving to the indoor dining room or under a covered portion of your outdoor space, or putting up a...
How to Stop Renting and Buy Your First Home

How to Stop Renting and Buy Your First Home

Do you dream of finally owning your own home? Becoming a homeowner is a big decision, but it comes with some great benefits. A home is an excellent investment, gives you more stability and security, and is a place you can truly put down roots and call your own. If you’re finding it hard to get to a place where you finally feel ready to buy, these tips will help you on your way. Here’s how to stop renting and buy your first home. 1. Get a handle on your financial situation Do an in-depth assessment of your current income, savings, debt, spending habits. You want to have a good understanding of your entire financial picture. It’s important to note that even if you have debt, you may still qualify for a mortgage. For help, speak to a professional such as a Financial Advisor about your position and get recommendations on how to prepare for buying a home. 2. Request a copy of your credit report Your credit score is the first thing banks will look at when considering you for a mortgage, and you need to have a high enough credit rating. A credit score of 700 or above is generally good, and 800 or above is excellent. If you want or need to improve your credit score, here are some great tips. 3. Assess the market where you want to live Do some research so you know how much homes in your area cost, and compare this to what you’d be able to afford. You may need to adjust or make a few concessions to find an...
What to Look for When Buying a House

What to Look for When Buying a House

It’s easy to get emotionally attached to a new home when you think you’ve found ‘the one’. But while it might appear perfect at first glance, the tint of those rose-coloured glasses might cause you to overlook significant problems with a property. When you’re buying real estate, it’s best to take an investment approach and consider the property’s value, keeping in mind the resale value of the house. These tips on what to look for when buying a house will help you determine whether a property is worth pursuing. These tips are meant to help you determine which properties are worth your time in the early stages of buying a home. But even if a home has passed all of your own tests and you want to move forward, you should still have a professional home inspection done. This will catch anything you didn’t and ensure that you’re able to get what you need from the seller to make repairs thrown into the deal – otherwise, it’s probably in your best interests to walk away. It’s also important to work with a licensed Realtor® when you’re house hunting. That way, you can ask them any questions about the home while you’re doing the walkthrough. You are paying for their expertise and guidance, and there’s no such thing as asking too many questions. They can help guide you and point out potential issues that your home inspection should focus on. 1. Roof Take a look at the roof from the outside of the property. Does it look new? Is it straight or sagging? Are there any holes or missing shingles?...
7 Tips for a Successful Spring Clean + Checklist

7 Tips for a Successful Spring Clean + Checklist

The weather’s getting warmer, flowers are blooming, and the days are getting longer. That’s right, springtime is here! Spring is a time to refresh and renew, not least of all with your home. Here are our top 7 tips for a successful spring clean in 2019, plus a free, printable checklist for every room in your home. 1. Set aside time in your schedule. Spring cleaning can take a good amount of time, especially if you haven’t been keeping up with it throughout the year. Block off enough time in your schedule to allow you to be as thorough as possible and reduce the stress of too many obligations at once so you can stay focused. 2. Wear protective gear. This is especially important if you suffer from dust allergies. Spring cleaning will stir up all the dust in places that haven’t been routinely cleaned throughout the year. Also, chemicals in many household cleaning products can irritate your skin or give off fumes. Wearing gear such as glasses, a face mask, and gloves will help protect you while you get the job done. 3. Work from top to bottom. In every room, start at the top and work your way down. As you clean, dust and debris may float down. By working from top to bottom, you’ll reduce the need to go back over areas you’ve already cleaned. 4. Make it fun. Cleaning and decluttering are called chores for a reason, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make it as enjoyable as possible. Put on your favourite playlist or current audiobook, bring the whole family together, or enlist the...
The Three Most Common Seller Mistakes

The Three Most Common Seller Mistakes

Chances are if you’re selling your home, you want to get it done as fast as possible and for the highest price. But getting the results you want comes down to much more than just listing your home for sale and crossing your fingers. Selling a home is a complex process that requires the expertise and know-how to get it done properly. Here are the three most common mistakes that sellers make when trying to sell their home (and how to avoid them!) 1. Condition In order for your home to sell within a good time frame and at the best possible price, it needs to be in good condition. When buyers walk into your home for the first time, you want to give them the impression that your property has been well-cared for and is mostly move-in ready. This includes things like fixing interior and exterior paint; patching any holes, cracks, and dents; tending to any landscaping that needs to be done; and ensuring your home is clean and tidy. Some buyers don’t mind taking on small cosmetic repairs or updates, but will expect a price reduction to cover the cost of taking care of them post-move. The larger and more serious the repairs needed, the lower you will need to price your property. In some cases, it may make sense to take care of repairs before listing your property to attract more buyers at a higher price. On the other hand, some updates can be left to the buyer so that it is tailored to their tastes. Talking to a Realtor® can help you determine the costs...