Welcome to Harry Naghavi's blog, York Region Home.

Harry has bought and sold homes and businesses all over the GTA, and has first-hand experience moving up from Toronto to York Region. Harry's interests include: Real Estate, family, hunting, fishing, cars, soccer, tennis, horses.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

New Season: New Beginnings

Transformation is in the air. Take advantage; sell now!

Summer is officially over. Today is the first day of Fall. The kids are all back to school and all the clubs and lessons have started their new seasons. New shoes and outfits have been bought. Maybe there's new project at work. People have switched gears and are ready for change and challenges.

Take advantage of this positive mindset and put your house on the market. You'll also be taking advantage of the beautiful fall colours and temperatures, not to mention the warm and homey decorations. It won't be hard to look good. Your house will look its best.

Give me a call or send me a message and I will help you make this big change, and I will make it as stress-free and positive as possible, and I will save you thousands of dollars.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Moving: Your Story Changes Scenes and the Plot Thickens

As a Realtor, I get to play a role in people’s life stories. I am a witness and an agent to transformation. It is always exciting to help a family along as they end one chapter in their lives and begin another. It is a very rewarding role that I honour and treasure. I feel a great responsibility, an obligation, to use my knowledge and experience to help my clients make the best change possible.

Moving is a big deal. Home determines so much of your life story. Your past and present homes are the settings of major events in your life and anchor the chapters. The place you call home, the country, town or city, neighbourhood, the house you live in, has a great influence on your life. It is not just background scenery; it shapes you.

Sometimes, a life event is the catalyst. Your youngest has finally gotten married and left the nest. Your partner landed a great job in another city. You just discovered that you are expecting a third child, and you are already feeling like sardines in your starter home, or apartment. You need a new home.

When we moved out of our little starter home into our bigger house, I remember how excited my daughters were at the thought that now, when they were sent to their rooms, they would have a dramatic walk up the stairs, like on TV! Halloween treats in the new neighbourhood were fancier and more plentiful. The school was closer, and so was the playground. We did not have our little backyard swings anymore, but we had the big, schoolyard ones where my daughters had hours of fun and independent time together to bond. When they disagreed, they could each go their own rooms to be alone. Moving to a bigger house, in a new neighbourhood will change all kinds of things!

My biggest move was over 30 years ago, when I came to Canada as a student. The plan was to go back home, but it didn’t end up that way. Plot twist! Plans change; life changes, and your story moves along. In my story, I end up in beautiful Newmarket, with a wonderful family, a big brick house in a good neighbourhood, a minivan and an SUV in the (4-car) driveway, a dog on the couch (Get down!), and I’m loving this chapter of my life! My beautiful home- this country, this town, this house- plays a huge role in what is happening in this story and shapes the characters too.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Fall Home Maintenance

Summer can't last forever. The weather has to get cooler. Kids have to go back to school. Summer flowers fade and fall colours take over. Fall reminds us that winter is on its way. This means preparing yourself and your home for the cold and ice and snow.

The most obvious places to pay attention to are your heating and cooling systems. The windows and doors will need attention. "Batten down the hatches!" Don't forget to drain your garden hoses and turn off the valve that serves the outdoor faucet. There are all kinds of fall gardening chores to be done, and you might want to replace your garden furniture instead of storing it. Take advantage of end-of-summer deals. This is a great time to clean out the garage. While you're putting away the summer stuff, you'll rediscover your winter tools and toys. Make sure you have access to a snow shovel for that first surprise snowfall, and put the snow brush in the car. 

Before the ice and snow starts, take care of your home and your family. To help, I've prepared this checklist for you:

Fall Home Maintenance

Taking Care of Your Investment (adapted from CMHC by Harry Naghavi, Your Friendly Realtor)

ü  Have furnace or heating system professionally serviced every two years for a gas furnace, and every year for an oil furnace, or as recommended by the manufacturer.

ü  Disconnect the power to the furnace and examine the forced-air furnace fan belt, if installed, for wear, looseness or noise; clean fan blades of any dirt buildup.

ü  If you have central air conditioning, make sure the drain pan under the cooling coil mounted in the furnace plenum is draining properly and is clean.

ü  I f you have a hot water heating system, lubricate the circulating pump.

ü  Bleed hot water radiators.

ü  Check chimneys for obstructions such as nests.

ü  Vacuum electric baseboard heaters to remove dust.

ü  Remove the grilles on forced-air systems and vacuum inside the ducts.

ü  Turn ON gas furnace pilot light (if your furnace has one), set the thermostat to “heat” and test the furnace for proper operation by raising the thermostat setting until the furnace starts to operate. Once you have confirmed proper operation, return the thermostat to the desired setting.

ü  Check and clean or replace furnace air filters each month during the heating season. Ventilation system, such as heat recovery ventilator, filters should be checked every two months.

ü  Check to see that the ductwork leading to and from the heat recovery ventilator is in good condition, the joints are tightly sealed (aluminum tape or mastic) and any duct insulation and plastic duct wrap is free of tears and holes.

ü  If the heat recovery ventilator has been shut off for the summer, clean the filters and the core, and pour water down the condensate drain to test it.

ü  Check to see that bathroom exhaust fans and range hoods are operating properly. If possible, confirm that you are getting good airflow by observing the outside vent hood (the exterior damper should be held open by the airflow). See the About Your House fact sheet CMHC Garbage Bag Airflow Test for a simple way to estimate the airflow.

ü  Check smoke, carbon monoxide and security alarms, and replace batteries.

ü  Clean portable humidifiers.

ü  Check sump pump and line to ensure proper operation, and to check for line obstructions or leaks.

ü  Replace window screens with storm windows.

ü  Remove interior insect screens from windows to allow air from the heating system to keep condensation off window glass and to allow more free solar energy into your home.

ü  Ensure that windows and skylights close tightly; repair or replace weatherstripping, as needed.

ü  Ensure all doors to the outside shut tightly, and check other doors for ease of use. Replace door weatherstripping if required.

ü  If there is a door between your house and the garage, check the adjustment of the self-closing device to ensure it closes the door completely.

ü  Cover outside of air-conditioning units and shut off power.

ü  Ensure that the ground around your home slopes away from the foundation wall, so that water does not drain into your basement.

ü  Clean leaves from eavestroughs and roof, and test downspouts to ensure proper drainage from the roof.

ü  Drain and store outdoor hoses. Close interior valve to outdoor hose connection and drain the hose bib (exterior faucet), unless your house has frost-proof hose bibs.

ü  Have well water tested for quality. It is recommended that you test for bacteria every six months.

ü  If you have a septic tank, measure the sludge and scum to determine if the tank needs to be emptied before the spring. Tanks should be pumped out at least once every three years.

ü  Winterize landscaping, for example, store outdoor furniture, prepare gardens and, if necessary, protect young trees or bushes for winter.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Selling a House in Summer: Better than Spring?

You may or may not have heard that the so-called “Spring Market” is the best time to sell. Starting as early as January, Realtors start to contact home owners to sell them on the idea of selling their homes as soon as possible. For Sale signs pop up well in advance of the first flowers of spring. By March, there is always a great selection of homes to buy. So, should you add yours to the inventory? If you can’t get your house ready to sell until June or July, is it too late?

In fact, the best time to sell your house is very personal, because you’re not simply making an investment transaction. Your home is special and there are special considerations. The timing of your move will have many influences.

If you own a home and will be buying a new one, will it be a larger or a smaller home? Will it be an inter-generational home? Will you be moving into the same market, or out of town? Will children have to change schools? Are you moving because of a change in your employment or health? People have to move all the time for all kinds of reasons.

If you’re selling and not planning to buy another home, say you’re moving in with one of your children or into a retirement home, the timing of the sale of your house will have different influences.

The excitement of the spring market might not appeal to you. The greater number of homes on the market can mean tougher competition, fast decisions, and higher prices. And, higher selling prices mean higher buying prices, too.

A slower pace in the summer can be beneficial. You can wait for the right buyer to come along with the price you want. If the prices drop after spring, a slightly lower selling price can mean a lower buying price, and a lower mortgage.

Your house might look spectacular in the fall when the maple trees in your neighbourhood are in full colour. Or maybe it’s at its best in the winter, with a fire in the fireplace and a wreath on the door. Your not-so-perfect yard looks perfectly fine covered in snow. Maybe you can wait.

If you’re thinking about selling, talk to Harry, Your Friendly Realtor. Before you’re ready, before you start staging, have a patient and knowledgeable professional come over to look it over and to help you think it over. Each situation is unique. A good Realtor will understand and help, not judge or pressure you. Your home is important and your individual needs are important. Harry will make sure you understand what you're getting into and will make the whole process as stress-free as possible.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Canada Day and Independence Day Decorating

Did you decorate for Canada Day?

Newmarket's Main Street always looks great for Canada Day, with lots of flags and gorgeous flowers, and the street fills with hundreds of people wearing red and white. Our Canada Day celebration is awesome!

Driving around town, I saw lots of flags flying, on flag posts, in flower beds and flower pots, on balconies, on cars, all over. Some homes were really beautifully decorated! I saw lots of red and white flower beds looking especially pretty with rows of flags framing them, and a red chair or a red door really pops when there's a Canada Day flower arrangement placed beside it.

I suspect that the homes with the most decorations were having parties for Canada Day. We don't tend to go all-out patriotic, we Canadians.

When you cross the border, it's different. Americans really fly their colours on Independence Day, and many more homes fly flags year-round. The "Stars and Stripes" appears not only on flagpoles but also on exterior and interior walls, floors, furniture, clothing, dishes, everywhere.

I think that Canadians do not love their country less than Americans love the USA. Indeed, we politely and humbly prefer Canada over every other place in the world.

Proudly Canadian, on July 1st and every day!

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Coffee in Newmarket

Where do you get yours?
You might want to try something different.

Do you do the drive-through thing at Tim Hortons or under the golden arches? Are you a loyal Starbuck’s customer? Do you have to have a donut with your coffee? You can do that in Newmarket. There are plenty of big-name places to get your caffeine fix. We have all the well-known coffee shops, donut franchises, and restaurant chains here.

But, we also have lots of independent coffee shops and restaurants. Get to know your neighbourhood by becoming a regular at one of the local spots. Go inside. Say hello and maybe sit down and drink your coffee there. It tastes better in a real cup, doesn’t it? They’ll give it to you to take out too if you’re really in a hurry.
Something else you might consider if you’re living in Newmarket is getting some art or culture with your coffee at some of the more interesting coffee shops in town. There’s Covernotes on Main Street which features displays of local art, live music, book signings and other cultural events. Also on Main Street, you’ll find Books/Cafe & Things which is a used book store and much more. Live entertainment is also a feature there.

Next time you’re meeting for some coffee with friends or for business, consider meeting at one of these interesting spots on Main Street. (If you prefer beer, there’s the amazing ‘gastropub’, HBH. And, then there’s the martini bar, Cachet.) While you’re there, say hello to us folks at Main Street Realty.

Look around and you’ll find all kinds of great alternatives to lining up behind a bunch of idling cars to get your morning coffee.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Buyer Tip: You Like it, Stalk it

When you’re interested in a house, act like a stalker. Drive past it at several different times of day. Park up the street to watch it with binoculars, and see what goes on in the neighbourhood. Research the town. Google the school, the recreation centre, the parks. Look them up on Facebook and Twitter.
Maybe you didn’t notice that the house is on a busy bus route or close to railway tracks. Maybe you thought that kids would be playing in the streets, but it’s all seniors living there. The dog walkers might bother you, or you might want to join them. You didn’t see all the basement apartments until you started looking for them. Would you be happy to have the income potential or are you nervous about the extra traffic?

If you’re looking at something in Newmarket, I can tell you that Newmarket is an excellent place to live! I can tell you about the different neighbourhoods, their advantages and disadvantages. When Harry Naghavi is your Realtor, you will get a thorough understanding of what you’re buying. I’ll even lend you my binoculars.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Summer Home Maintenance

Summer is the best time to do a lot of work in and around the house.

You'll obviously be doing gardening and landscape maintenance, and there are a number of things you'll want to do while windows and doors can be left open and there are things you'll need to do that are specific to this season. Plan your projects. Because our summer days and weekends are busy with fun things, you might want to save some for the fall, when we often have surprisingly warm days.

Painting, work on windows and doors, driveways and walkways,  roof repairs, and carpet cleaning are all things that are best done while the weather is good.

Keep your investment in top shape during the summer. Here's a checklist to inspire you:
Summer  Home Maintenance

Taking Care of Your Investment
(adapted from CMHC by Harry Naghavi, Your Friendly Realtor)

  • Use a dehumidifier to maintain relative humidity below 60 per cent in basement.
  • Clean or replace air-conditioning filter, and clean or replace ventilation system filters if necessary.
  • Inspect basement pipes for condensation or dripping and, if necessary, take corrective action; for example, reduce humidity and/or insulate cold water pipes.
  • Check the basement floor drain to ensure the trap contains water; refill with water if necessary.
  • If you have a plumbing fixture that is not used frequently, for example, a laundry tub or spare bathroom sink, tub or shower stall, run some water briefly to keep water in the trap.
  • Deep clean carpets and rugs.
  • Disconnect the duct connected to your clothes dryer, and vacuum lint from duct, the areas surrounding your dryer and your dryer’s vent hood outside.
  • Check smooth functioning of all windows, and lubricate as required.
  • Inspect window putty on outside of glass panes of older houses, and replace if needed.
  • Sand and touch up paint on windows and doors.
  • Lubricate door hinges, and tighten screws as needed.
  • Check for and replace damaged caulking and weatherstripping around mechanical and electrical services, windows and doorways, including the doorway between the garage and the house. 
  • Lubricate garage door hardware, and ensure it is operating properly.
  • Lubricate automatic garage door opener motor, chain and other moving parts, and ensure that the auto-reverse mechanism is properly adjusted.
  • Repair any damaged steps
  • Check all guardrails and handrails.
  • Repair driveway and walkways as needed.
  • Check exterior wood siding and trim for signs of deterioration; clean, replace or refinish as needed.
  • Remove any plants that contact — and roots that penetrate — the siding or brick.
  • From the ground, check the general condition of the roof and note any sagging that could indicate structural problems requiring further investigation from inside the attic. Note the condition of shingles for possible repair or replacement, and examine roof flashings, such as at chimney and roof joints, for any signs of cracking or leakage.
  • Check the chimney cap and the caulking between the cap and the chimney.
Harry Naghavi, Your Friendly Realtor, is one of the best Realtors in Newmarket, in York Region, and in the GTA. Check out his website www.harrynaghavi.com to find this list and other important information about buying and selling homes, and try out the interactive property search feature!

House Looking Good? Take a Picture!

Is your house looking really good right now? You've probably put some planters out front, and the grass is really green and lush. After our long winter, you're happy to spend time outside making the house look good again. Maybe you're having people over on the weekend and you're proud of how your house looks.

Take some pictures now!

Even if you're not thinking of selling this year, take some pictures of the exterior of your house now and throughout the summer, when your house looks good. Take a shot from across the street, get a good shot of the backyard, and be sure to show off your front door.

If you decide to sell when things are dry and droopy or covered in snow, you'll have pictures for your Realtor to post that show off your house at its best!

The spring market this year was slower than usual and one thing that was obvious was that almost every house on the market was pictured covered with snow. Buyers couldn't see the landscaping and many details were obscured. The odd house that had a summer picture looked fantastic, really outstanding!

Taking pictures of your house in every season also helps you with your own maintenance planning. You'll see issues on the house and in the garden that need attention. 

Friday, 30 May 2014

We Love Weekends!

I love weekends!

On the weekend, everyone is relaxed and happy and has lots of time to go house shopping with their Realtor!

I’m happy to hang out with my clients on weekends and love meeting people at open houses. Now that summer is on its way, there will be lots of longer weekends. There are the official long weekends, and there are people taking Fridays off or taking off early on Fridays! So, along with everyone else, I say “TGIF!”

Working on the weekend is great when you love what you do! And, when you have the flexibility to take time off during the week. I love it when I get to go fishing during the week, and I don’t have to “take the day off”.

Give me a call and we’ll hang out this weekend, it’s going to be beautiful!

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Home and Cottage in One!

Two-for-one! You can live year-round in this amazing home, located just outside of Newmarket, and feel like you’re always at the cottage. Come home to your luxurious natural oasis. Invite all your friends and family to come and play with you!

This great property has a big, beautiful well-designed house with lots of opportunities to enjoy the views as you to extend your living space outdoors on 4 comfortable covered decks. Natural light pours into the elegant interior spaces via skylights. The gorgeous kitchen and open plan living/dining room was designed for entertaining. The 12+ acre property includes a forest and a pond. There’s tons of outdoor space for little kids, and big kids, to play! You’ll be very close to marinas on Lake Simcoe. Bring the boat and be on the water in minutes! Newmarket and Bradford are both a short drive away for shopping, restaurants, and all the amenities of town and highways 400 and 404 are both easily accessed.

Contact me right away and you’ll have the best summer ever!

Click here to see the listing on my website, with details and more pictures.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Thinking about buying a house: Just Do It!

Just do it! Nike got to the point. Don’t think about it too much, don’t worry, don’t just dream about it, just do it. They want you to buy shoes; I want you to buy a house.

Here’s a quote from Mark Twain that has more for you to chew on:
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

I like the image of taking to the water to explore and dream. I love being on the water, fishing, and dreaming, even working.

I’m getting to the point in my life where I’m starting to look back and evaluate things. I think about these things when I’m on a lake or in the woods. When I get back to “reality” I feel inspired to make a change, to go ahead and shake things up a bit.

I like to quote Newton’s first law of motion too: A body at rest tends to stay at rest. This appeals to me because it’s simple physics but it means so much more.

If you’re satisfied with who you are, what you’re doing, where you live, your weight, your hairstyle, then don’t make any changes. If you don’t change anything, chances are things will tend to stay the same- your weight, your income, everything. But, get out of your routine and you’ll see some changes, improvement. Leave the safe harbour behind.

Almost twenty years ago, Renate and I made some big decisions, took some risks and sailed off to Newmarket. We scraped together a down payment for a house, went over-budget, and bought our first house, a tiny old thing near Main Street and Davis Drive. That was the best thing we ever did! We could not have done it in Toronto. If we had stayed, we’d still be renting, stuck in the city. We never imagined that we’d someday own a house like the one we live in now!

Take the first step today. Call me or email me, Tweet or message me and ask me about getting into a house in Newmarket. We could also look at something in Bradford or Keswick. You can get a lot of house for your money up here. And, these communities are great places to raise your family and do business too.

Do it.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Tired Features Mean You Can Customize

Sometimes, I'll look at a house with clients and we'll notice that the place is looking tired. It's not always a bad thing. I can ask for a discount to compensate for the cost of necessary upgrades, and then the buyers can update the house exactly the way they want. 

If you're handy or have handy friends that like to help with projects, a perfect home may not be one that's fully upgraded, mint condition, ready to move in to. You'll be paying a premium for another family's favourite colours and styles. Why not look for a fixer-upper or a house that's been a bit neglected. 

A tired house isn't the same as a fixer-upper. It might just be paint and wallpaper that make it look old, or kitchen cupboards that need some attention. Maybe you'll want to tear out some carpeting. Flooring isn't so bad to do before you move in, and you can go to town with paint too. Often it's the bathroom that's in need of renovation. Kitchens and bathrooms are notoriously expensive to renovate, but if you're handy, you can save a lot of money. And, if you get a good enough discount, you can spend it all on creating your dream kitchen, or a luxurious bathroom retreat.

A fixer-upper can be a perfect opportunity. If you can get a good deal on a bad house in a great location, you might be able to gut the house or tear it down and build your dream home. It takes a lot of planning in terms of cash flow and could mean two moves instead of one. You'll have to have a good sense of how much the tear-down and the construction is going to cost, and maybe the costs of a rental (or living with your mom) while you're building.

Think of all the possibilities. There are so many things to consider when you're buying a house. Make sure you have a professional Realtor on your side and don't be shy to share your dreams with your Realtor. The best Realtors always ask a ton of questions to get to know you and to find out what your dreams are. They can help make them come true!

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Gardening: Good for You and Your House

Gardening is good for you and for your house.

A beautifully landscaped property adds to the value of your home and improves your well-being.

Flowers make you feel happier, don't they?

There's a lot of talk lately about how we need to spend more time in nature. Just looking at nature has been shown to reduce stress and improve brain function. A beautiful garden is truly rewarding. Getting your hands dirty and doing the gardening yourself has even more benefits. You get outdoors and have some physical activity, and you feel connected to nature. You can plant fruits and vegetables to improve your diet. Here's an article from CNN Health that discusses the mental and physical benefits of gardening. You can practise Horticultural Therapy in your own backyard!

Not only is gardening good for body and soul, but it's also good for the bottom line. The value of your home depends on it. In fact, a study by Money Magazine has shown that good landscaping increases the value of a home and bad landscaping decreases the value of a home. Money spent on landscaping is very well spent indeed:  "landscaping can bring a recovery value of 100 to 200 per cent at selling time." Everyone talks about "curb appeal" and when they do, plants and flowers are always mentioned. Add a pot of flowers to the front step and you've got better curb appeal. Create a beautiful flower bed, and you get much, much more.

Your neighbours will benefit from your beautiful landscaping too. Their home value goes up with yours, and they will enjoy the increased natural elements in their lives.

Now is a great time to work on your landscaping. Garden Centres are full of plants and tools and most will even be open on the Victoria Day holiday so that you can take advantage of the perfect planting conditions.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Yard Sale: Do it!

If you need to declutter to get your house ready for sale, and even if you're just thinking about moving or downsizing, you really should consider holding a yard sale.

We had our first yard sale last summer, and it was quite an experience! 

There's a lot of advice online about how to hold a yard sale. People will tell you how to price stuff, how to display things, warn you about theft and early birds, and suggest where to buy supplies. You can make it as simple or complicated as you want. Google 'yard sale', search Pinterest, or do whatever you like to research, and you'll find all the information you need and more. I'll give you just a few words of advice. 
  1. Make your signs clear. Keep it simple and big. You really just need the words Yard Sale and an arrow. Don't make it complicated. 
  2. Let your neighbours know in advance. It's common courtesy, since your street will be busy early on a weekend morning. Plus, some of your neighbours might want to do a yard sale too, and you'll get more traffic. 
  3. Be prepared for the weather. Have shade and cold drinks for yourself and your visitors if it's hot, and coffee for a cold morning. We had a very hot day and sold cold drinks for a good profit. Tarps are a good idea if rain is in the forecast. 
  4. Talk to people. Say hello, and talk to people when you have a chance. You'll have great stories to share afterwards.

A yard sale takes some planning and a full day of work, but you will make some money and you will get rid of a lot of things. You'll spend some time with your neighbours and meet lots of interesting people from all over the place. You'll be surprised to find out how far people travel for yard sales. The best part will be how great your house looks with less stuff in it! You'll feel ready to sell, and you'll feel better about moving. 

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Downsizing can be Great!

Families grow and they buy bigger homes, and that's exciting and positive. But, later, when the children go off on their own, and start their own families, it's time to downsize. Downsizing is difficult but it doesn't have to be negative. It can be great. 

Many couples are excited to move into a bigger house when the family is growing. Needing more bathrooms and space for kids to play is thrilling. It's scary to take on more responsibility, and usually more debt too, but it's a very positive experience. It's also fun to buy more stuff to furnish the house and entertain the family. It's pretty easy to fill up a big house when you have a family.

When the family grows up, and the kids move away, the next stage is much more difficult. It's much harder to downsize.  It takes more than a garage sale to get rid of all the stuff you accumulated over the growing years. It takes courage and determination and thick skin. You'll be attached to things that you really don't need. You'll be attached to your big house that you really don't need. You know that moving to a smaller space makes sense, but it's hard to do. In fact, many people avoid it until it's too late. Their kids end up with the job of getting rid of all of Grandma's stuff and selling her house after she's gone.

You've got to try to stay positive in this new stage of life. Downsizing can be great! Consider the environmental footprint of your smaller home, a small house or a condominium. You'll be saving money and helping the planet. You can start a new "greener" life. Think about how giving away and selling your extra furniture will benefit a young family. Even your stuff will live another life. Your big house will be full of people again. Your little home will feel less like an "empty nest". Your little home will take less time to maintain. With less time spent at home, you can be more active in the community. There are tons of reasons to celebrate this smaller, simpler time.

When you decide to take the big step, when you decide it's time for you to downsize, call Harry, Your Friendly Realtor. 

The reason I'm one of the best Realtors in Newmarket, York Region, and the GTA, is that I care about my clients. I'm not #1. My clients are #1.

I will not rush you or pressure you during this difficult time. I have helped seniors move -I have personal experience in addition to my experiences as a Realtor- and understand the emotions involved. We will work together to get you the best deal for your house and will take all the time you need. We will work together to find you the right home in the right location for you. I will do my best to make it a happy experience, so that when you downsize, it will be great!

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Spring Home Maintenance

These warmer days remind us homeowners that it's time for some important Spring Home Maintenance, and I've got a checklist for you.

As soon as the snow melts, it's time to check on your real estate investment, to see how it survived the winter. Your house and property need your attention.

Furnaces and fireplaces will soon be out of commission for a while, and air conditioners will need to be put into service. They will need some attention. Look at the exterior of your house and around your property to see if anything needs to be repaired or replaced. Plan a project for a nice weekend or for the summer. Will you need a new deck or fence, should you add an awning or a gazebo for some shade? You'll want to do your Spring Garden Maintenance too.

Here's a checklist of things you can do for your house in the spring:

Spring  Home Maintenance

Taking Care of Your Investment
(adapted from CMHC by Harry Naghavi, Your Friendly Realtor)

Have fireplace or wood stove and chimney cleaned and serviced as needed.

Shut down, drain and clean furnace humidifier, and close the furnace humidifier damper on units with central air conditioning.

Switch on power to air conditioning and check system. Have it serviced every two or three years.

Clean or replace air-conditioning filter, if applicable.

Check dehumidifier and drain — clean if necessary.

Turn OFF gas furnace and fireplace pilot lights where possible.

Have well water tested for quality. It is recommended that you test for bacteria every six months.

Check smoke, carbon monoxide and security alarms, and replace batteries (when clocks “spring forward”).

Clean windows, screens and hardware, and on older homes, replace storm windows with screens. 

Open valve to outside hose connection after all danger of frost has passed.

Examine the foundation walls for cracks, leaks or signs of moisture, and repair as required.

Ensure sump pump is operating properly before the spring thaw sets in. Ensure discharge pipe is connected and allows water to drain away from the foundation.

Re-level any exterior steps or decks that moved as a result of frost or settling.

Check eavestroughs and downspouts for loose joints and secure attachment to your home, clear any obstructions, and ensure water flows away from your foundation.

Clear all drainage ditches and culverts of debris.

Repair and paint fences and decks as necessary — allow wood fences to dry adequately first.

Undertake spring landscape maintenance and, if necessary, fertilize young trees.

You can find a version of this checklist and more helpful information on my website:  www.harrynaghavi.com

Harry Naghavi, Your Friendly Realtor, is one of the best Realtors in Newmarket, in York Region, and in the GTA.

Monday, 5 May 2014

Backyard Pool: Pros and Cons

I've got you thinking about summer.

You're looking at my Canada Day Moving Promotion and thinking, "I could have a new house by Canada Day, a new house with a pool?"

Make sure you know what you're getting into with a pool. Here are some pros and cons to having a pool in your backyard.

Swimming Pool Pros: 

  • Cooling off after a long day at work. Ahhhhh, daily vacation all summer long.
  • Being "cool". You'll be the popular house on the street, the popular family to visit.
  • Pool parties!
  • Exercise
  • An excuse to be outdoors and off screens
  • Family time
  • Kids will be good swimmers
  • Potential income from swimming lessons

Swimming Pool Cons:
  • Daily maintenance. Another job to do after work, before you can relax.
  • Being the neighbourhood babysitter/lifeguard might be less fun than expected.
  • Hosting all the summer parties and family events can become costly and stressful
  • Upkeep costs and time (winter closing, liner, pump, and filter replacements, and landscaping issues, fence and gate, etc)
  • Cost of water and chemicals, and electricity to heat the pool early and later in the season.
  • Insurance and legal issues to consider (accidents)

As soon as the snow melts, we start dreaming about summer. We remember how hot it was last summer, and think how nice it would be to have a pool to cool off in. But, do you have the time and money to maintain a pool? What else do you have to think about? Make sure you think it through carefully.

If you're looking for a house with a swimming pool in Newmarket, or in Aurora, Bradford, Richmond Hill, or anywhere in York Region and the GTA, call Harry Naghavi, Your Friendly Realtor! You'll be working with one of the best Realtors in Newmarket or anywhere.

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Canada Day Move: Why so popular?

A Canada Day closing is stressful and hectic and the holiday means that lots of things will be closed and Lawyers won't be working on Canada Day. So why is it so popular?
  • Canada Day is July 1st. It's the first of the month and it's the first real summer holiday, since the school year ends at the end of June. The weather is usually pretty good.
  • Since the school year is over, if you have children, then you don't have to worry about changing schools. New school year, new school. 
  • Canada Day long weekends are sometimes 4-day weekends, when Canada Day falls on a Tuesday or Thursday. So, you'll have more time off of work, without worries
  • The Spring Real Estate Market is when buyers have the best selection of houses to buy.
  • The Spring Real Estate Market is when sellers will have the most buyers looking at their properties. 
You still have time to buy or sell with a Canada Day Move. And, I've got a Canada Day Moving Deal for you! Give me a call, and get in on the action.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Canada Day Moving Deal

Moving is stressful.

I can help. 

I've got lots of experience with this, having physically moved myself and friends and family, and having moved many wonderful clients. When you choose me as your Realtor, you will have less moving stress. 

First of all, I've got a tip sheet for you here on my Blog.
And, best of all, I've got a deal for you.

Here's the deal: Any time you buy or sell your house with me:
  • I'll pay for your moving van* 
  • I'll take care of your moving day pizza**
Moving day is usually on the first of the month. Often, you end up moving out and in on the same day. Talk about hectic! I can help make it a bit less stressful. 

Everything needs to be booked and planned in advance, or you end up in trouble. Lawyers get booked-up, trucks get booked-up, elevators too. Have you got your boxes, your tape, lots of help, your friend with a pick-up? Are the dog-sitter and baby-sitter ready? A checklist will help. I've got one for you. 

There's so much to worry about and so many extra costs. I'll take away one more worry. I'll pay for your moving van. All you have to do is find a few friends to help fill it up and carry things out.

Once you're in your new home, and everything's unpacked, you'll be hungry. I'll provide pizza for you. 

The busiest time to move is Canada Day Weekend***, so I've got a special treat for you if you buy or sell your house with a Canada Day closing. 

I'll send over a yummy Canada Day Cake!

My job as a Realtor is to take care of my clients, to help them through the process of buying and selling their homes. In my opinion, that goes right through to Moving Day. 

Harry is a proud Canadian. Happy Canada Day!

* Harry will arrange for cube van to be at your disposal for the whole day
** Harry will have a pizza dinner delivered to feed your family
*** For 2014, this offer is valid from June 27- July 6

Some conditions apply.

Friday, 25 April 2014

First-Time Home Owner/ First-Time Garden Owner (Handy tips and links)

Your First Home! Wow! Congratulations! Awesome feeling, home ownership.

Are you excited about having a yard? Are you planning your flower beds, maybe some decorative pots on the porch? Did you remember to buy a lawn mower (a push one if you have a small lawn)?

It's exciting to get your hands dirty in the garden for the first time. It's also a big responsibility. I've got some information you need, things to think about, some tips and links for you to get you started, including a list of essential garden tools. 

There's the property standards thing: There are bylaws about fences and hedges, and garbage, and more.  "Private Property and Boulevard Enforcement involves by-laws primarily associated with land use (zoning), lot maintenance, property standards, boulevards, signs and noise. The enforcement of these by-laws supports orderly development, community standards and community image." (Town of Newmarket

And the environmental thing: Newmarket has a bylaw limiting pesticides, and water restrictions. There is a green bin compost program and the town encourages you to purchase a garden composter (Town of Newmarket) and York Region has tips for yard care and gardening that save water and we got our rain barrel cheap through the region (Water For Tomorrow).   "The average suburban lawn uses six times the hazardous chemicals per acre as conventional farming. Per hour of operation, a gas mower emits 10 times as much hydrocarbon as a car. Then, of course, there are the sprinkler systems that go off like clockwork, even when it’s raining." (Canadian Living) 

Remember, you're taking care of living things. You'll love watching your baby plants grow into flowers and vegetables. If you don't have children, having a garden gives you a great outlet for your nurturing instincts. If you have children, there are a million lessons that gardens teach.

Don't worry. There's lots of help out there: websites and blogs online, books, and staff at gardening centres, even gardening centres in department stores and at Canadian Tire can help. And, talking about yard work is a great way to meet your neighbours! They'll know best about what works in your neighbourhood.

For information on plants and planting and everything gardening, follow local garden people, like Mark Cullen. on blogs and Facebook posts to get timely advice. You'll know when it's time to plant tulips and the best way to do it, for example.

Don't go crazy buying all the fancy gardening tools. You might not need them all, and you might be able to borrow some. Here's a list of essentials:

  1. Gloves (can be old leather gloves)
  2. Wheelbarrow (kids' wagon works in a pinch)
  3. Rake (for leaves, and a straight rake if you have flower and vegetable beds)
  4. Hand pruners (scissors, saws, and loppers and other cutting things are good too)
  5. Watering Can (and a good hose attachment is nice)
  6. Trowel (for planting smaller things)
  7. Spade (for planting bigger things- watch where you're digging. Here's the number to call to locate underground stuff.)
Creepy Garden Gnomes Optional

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Location? Price? Size? What's most important?

There's that old Real Estate story that everyone knows: When asked to state the top 3 factors in determining the value of Real Estate, a British tycoon said: "Location, location, location!"

I think it might be different when you're in the market for a family home. Sure, it's an investment. But, it's your home. Home is a powerful thing. Home is a powerful word. It conjures up all kinds of feelings, emotions, memories, associations that have nothing to do with dollar value. Location is a big factor, but I don't think that it's related to dollar value when it's considered. It's more likely to be in relation to other family members or work or school. If it's thought of in terms of cost, then it's likely about cost of travel to work.

Here is one possible list of Top 3 Factors in Home Buying

What can you afford? What are you willing to pay? This is where you have to start, really. How much do you have and how much of that are you willing to pay for your home? Will spending more on a home mean fewer holidays? Will spending less on a home mean more travel time, or will it just mean more travel-to-work time, commuting? You'll have to look at your finances and you'll have to talk to your family to see what they value. First, you have to determine the bottom line.

Where would you like to live? What has value for you? Do you want to be close to or far away from family, parks and schools, work, nature, urban amenities, fishing holes? How far are you willing to go from your workplace? How far from Mom do you want to be? You'll need to think about the cost of your commute in terms of time and dollars. It might be a question of space vs time. In any case, the bottom line will be the determining factor.

Size/ Fit:
How much space do you need? Is your family growing or shrinking? Do you need an in-law suite, rooms for the grand kids, a fenced-in yard for your dogs, spaces for entertaining, space for your car, space for storing your boat, a wine cellar or a man-cave? When you consider how much room you need, the easy measures are the number of bedrooms and parking spaces, lot-size, and square feet (or metres). The numbers alone can't measure how your family will fit into those spaces. You'll have to walk through and visualize yourselves using the space. In the end, the cost might make you change your mind about what you "need."

You can use these 3 factors, Price, Location, and Size, in your preliminary home search, on my website. You can indicate a price range, a location, and the number of bedrooms or square feet, for example.

Other variables available on the property search are: garage spaces, bathrooms, acres, year built, and number of stories. Variables you can't type in: style, colours, smell, landscaping, does it feel warm and homey, will you fall in love with it?

You don't have to do an online home search at all. You can call me (416-716-3112) or email me (harrynaghavi@gmail.com).

Call me and I'll make it easier for you. We'll meet and discuss your needs and your desires. We'll talk about all the things your family has to consider in your specific circumstances. And, then I will search for you and provide you with lists of possibilities. I'll send you emails of listings, and we can meet and look at listings too if you prefer. I'll make appointments to go and see the houses you like. When you choose, I'll get you the best deal possible!

I will save you time and money.

And, buying a home will be as stress-free as possible. 

We'll find you a house you'll love, a house to call  home. 

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Clean and Declutter: Ready to Sell

You don't always have time to "stage" your home. You don't always need to. 

You've been taking care of your investment all along, haven't you? No?

If you've let a couple of things go, it's best if you can fix them up before selling, but don't stress out if you can't get it done. 

There are buyers who look beyond the surface and see the potential for creating their own personalized space in your home. Some people will look for a home that they can update for themselves with the colours and styles that they want, not a perfect home with brand-new things that they don't like and will want to replace anyway. 

Clean as much as you can. Take away the clutter, including some of the furniture that's taking up too much space. Make the home look clean and spacious. Leave it to the imaginations of the buyers to fix it up the way they want it. 

You might not get the price that the spiffy home up the street got, but you'll sell just as fast and without all the headaches and costs of renovations.

Give me a call and we'll see how much you need to do and can do to get your house on the market. I'll give you an honest evaluation and professional and common sense advice. Call Harry, Your Friendly Realtor: 416-716-3112. 

Get Ready to Sell! Do Your Own "Staging"

You're thinking about moving. You're getting ready to sell your house.

First of all, call me, Harry, Your Friendly Realtor (416-716-3112).

I'll pop over to your place, give you a free evaluation, and we'll look at what you need to do to get the house ready to sell for the best price possible. Don't worry, you probably won't have to do much "staging".

There is a ton of information on the internet about staging homes to get the most money. There are companies who will do it for you. Get a quote and see what they'll do. Sometimes they do amazing things. But, you might not have the money to hire a staging company and you might not have the time and money to invest in a big DIY project either right now, and that's okay. You have to consider the cost to yourself in terms of time and money in relation to the effect on the selling time and price. Will it be worth it?

You might end up just doing a major cleaning and just change things around a bit. Maybe you'll have a weekend to do some painting. Even if you have a good-sized budget and a fair amount of time, I believe that you can do it yourself if you can think like a buyer. It's a bit difficult to look at your home and your stuff and think of it as someone else's. But, that's what you've got to try to do. And, I can help you with that.

Here's a link to a blog post that has some good common-sense ideas for things to do before inviting buyers in to your house. You won't have to spend too much time on the projects that they recommend. It's on a Blog called The Sweet Spot Blog.

The most important thing is also the easiest to do: declutter and clean

Have a yard sale to get rid of things you don't need, give things away, recycle, and then throw things out. Pack away stuff that you won't need until after your move. Store it, and maybe even a few pieces of furniture that are crowding your spaces, at someone else's house or rent a storage space.

Then, clean thoroughly. If you hate cleaning, then you can easily hire people to do it for you.

Don't forget the outside of your house! Curb appeal is actually a big deal. People do judge based on appearances, on first impressions.

The next blog post in the series on the Sweet Spot Blog is about getting the outside of your house ready for sale. I recommend that one too if you want to see some good tips.

I can also help you decide what you need to do to boost your curb appeal, if you need to do anything at all. 

You've been taking care of your investment all along, right? I'll tell you what it's worth "as is". You might be surprised at how little you really need to do.

I will help you make your move as stress-free as possible.

And, you'll save money: you'll get the best deal selling and buying with my help!

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Focus on Kitchens and Bathrooms

Bathrooms and Kitchens: 
Keep these spaces up-to-date and clean to take care of your investment. 

Never underestimate the importance of bathrooms and kitchens. If they're tired and dirty, you'll turn buyers off. If you've been neglecting these areas in your home, you'll want to spend some time and money here before putting your house up for sale. 

At the very least, clean thoroughly and clear the counters and all surfaces of clutter. Pack away some of your stuff so that storage areas look organized and spacious. 

A weekend project can have a big impact. Some paint can do wonders, and there are tons of great ideas for fast fixes for kitchen cupboards and bathroom vanities. 

I love sitting around the kitchen table with my sellers figuring out what they can do to get the most for their homes. If you're thinking of selling. Give me a call. I'll come over and we can talk. 416-716-3112

Monday, 14 April 2014

Sell or Buy First?

Sell first and then buy. 

When people think of moving, they'll often call me and ask to see a bunch of homes. They just want to have an idea of what's out there. We're just shopping around. Most often, it's a waste of time for them. (Not for me. It's always a good experience to see homes. I can recommend things to other buyers.) 

When you go house shopping, you need to have your finances in order. If you already own a house, then your money will probably be tied up in that. Once you sell your house, the market will be different. 

Let's say you're shopping around while you're just thinking about moving and you fall in love with a house you see. How will you be able to make an offer on it? You can make a conditional offer. If there's another offer without the "sale of buyer's home" condition, then they won't choose yours. Let's say yours is the only offer and they accept it. Do you really want to sell your house under that kind of pressure? Can you get the most out of your present home if you are pressed for time? 

Take your time to prepare your house for sale. Get top dollar for your investment. Then, go shopping with the power to offer the strongest bid. 

Friday, 11 April 2014

Where do you want to live? What kind of home do you want?

If you're thinking of moving, unhappy with your house or apartment, how do you decide where to move and what kind of house you want?

How do you decide? This is an especially frustrating question for first-time buyers. 

The possibilities seem endless, and there are always more questions: 
  • country or city
  • commute or live close to work
  • house or condo
  • new or resale
  • more house or more land
  • modern or traditional
  • close to family or farther away
  • do you need to be close to schools or hospitals
  • do you need public transit
  • will you need room for guests
  • will you need space for your family to grow
  • can you do some renovating
  • do you like yard work
  • how many cars do you need
  • what do your pets need
  • what about your dreams 

The biggest and first question is always "How much can I afford?" 

The bank will tell you something, and so will friends and family. There are formulas for calculating mortgages and debt to income ratios, and there are always surprises, hidden expenses. Sit down with your bank information and your Realtor. I will help you to understand all the costs involved and I will also help you to see beyond the basics. Numbers don't always tell the whole story. Personality and individuality play a part, so you might need to look outside the box.

After you figure out approximately what you can pay, you need to narrow down your search. I can help you with that too. 

Sometimes it's easier to eliminate what you don't like first. Decide where you don't want to live. Think about what you're not willing to do, features you don't like, and anything else you want to avoid. Sometimes this direction of thinking will open up the ideas about what you do want too. This is a good time to write things down. Make a chart with 2 sides: Like/ Don't Like or Want/ Don't Want. Jot things down as they come to mind (and be prepared to change your mind). 

Go to my website and use the interactive search tool there. That will help. 

Most importantly, go and see homes with your friendly Realtor, me, Harry Naghavi. 

Wherever you are in your decision-making process, give me a call (416-716-3112). It will help to have a professional on your side to help you decide. I can take you to see all kinds of homes and we can take your list with us. When you actually step in to the homes that are available, and drive around the neighbourhoods, you will learn more than you can by sitting at a computer screen. 

We will choose a bunch of places to go and see and decide on a couple of dates that you're available. Then, I'll make appointments to go and see them. I'll set up a route, and we'll go and check them out. Remember to wear comfortable footwear that you can easily take off and put back on again. We can see as many homes as you need to, and take as much time as you need to.