Ways to Choose a Home Insulation Contractor

If you are looking for a reputed contractor, you might want to know what to look for in the contractor. You do not want to leave your home in the hand of someone with little knowledge about insulation. When it comes to choosing the best insulation contractor, you will find that there are really good ones and then there are not so good ones. Here are some of the things to consider when picking an insulation contractor for your home or office –

Experience
Even though some aspects of wall insulation installation can be DIY project, there are a number of elements that one can benefit from when they hire experienced contractors for the project. It is best to hire a contractor that has a minimum of five years experience.

Have Knowledge of Construction
The contractor should have knowledge and understanding of construction as well in order to add insulation to the pre-existing home. Since older homes had different codes and were built differently, the contractor should not be surprised with your home and know how to add insulation perfectly.

Know the DCRA Code
You might not be aware of the DCRA code, but the home insulation contractor should know it by heart. Before you hire the contractor, ask them about the DCRA code for residential insulation. They should also be familiar with the latest R levels codes. If they have no idea what you are talking about, it is best to look for someone else.

Licensed Business
The contractor you pick should have proper licensing to practice. Always ask the contractor for the licenses and if they hesitate to provide you with that, it is best to move on to the next contractor on your list.

General Liability
The insulation contractor that you pick should have general liability insurance. Even the professional can make mistakes and if they accidently damage your home during installation, you will not have to pay for the repairs. The insurance should be able to cover it for you.

Bonded
The insulation contractor that you pick should be bonded. This means that they will have some level of liability in order to protect the property in case they are unable to complete the work. You do not want to get stuck with a half finished insulation work.

Own Equipments
The contractor that you pick should own their equipment and not borrow them. in case they borrow it, you should know that they are not serious about their worn. Committed contractors will have their own equipment that they use all the time and will be efficient in using them when they need it.
It is important to protect your home by hiring only a professional and experienced insulation contractor. It is best to do your research and pick the ones that meet all the above qualifications.

Free Real Estate Online

If you have found the learning curve steep and expensive to become and remain a Realtor, you will like the latest announcement from Real Estate University.com, a service of University.com . Starting November 8th, the company offers free real estate classes online at its Web site, www.realestate.university.com .

Real Estate University.com (REU) is among the leading sources for real estate training, education and information for real estate professionals on the Internet.

The free classes will include real estate-specific topics such as Buyer Seller Orientation, Open House, Classified Ads, FSBOs, Cold Calling, Referrals and others. The site will also offer leading real estate contact management software applications such as Top Producer and On-Line Agent, as well as popular Microsoft office applications, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Access.

As if filling your brain for free isn’t enough, the university is giving away a free Palm V organizer every month, a $399 value. For every free class a user takes, they receive an entry into that month’s drawing. Five Palm V’s will be given away, beginning in November.

In addition to the free class offerings above, the site also has a catalog of reasonably priced courses including Sales and Marketing, Technology, Management, Leadership, Finance, Legal, Communication and Life Skills.

Real Estate University.com’s continuing education courseware has recently been certified for online delivery by The Association of Real Estate Licensing Law Officials , (ARELLO,) a real estate association made up of entities involved in regulating the practice of real estate.

“ARELLO certification is important to the Real Estate University because it means our online courseware meets the demanding standards ARELLO has developed,” says Mark Wilkes, director of Real Estate University.com. “These standards assure state regulators that the course content and the delivery method are both of the highest-quality. Certification also ensures that real estate professionals who take such classes online are receiving the information required to maintain their licensing requirements.”

Wilkes says there will shortly be continuing education classes approved for state credit which will soon be available online in cooperating states. These will soon be offered live.

Tips on Improving Your Real Estate

Hire a Professional

If you want to raise the visibility of your real estate office and improve your sales, the best investment you can make is in a professionally designed real estate website.

You may be tempted to simply use a template for your website in order to “save money.” A template may seem like the cheaper option, but it will leave potential clients less than impressed.

Your website is your best salesman – it’s the first place that potential clients will go to when they’re thinking about purchasing a new property. If the layout is sloppy and the links don’t work, clients will get frustrated and move on.

Think of your website as your store front. If customers were to go in person to a place of business and the building was falling down, they wouldn’t hesitate to drive past. It’s the same with your site – if it’s in poor shape and looks unprofessional, potential clients will think it’s a reflection of your business and will go to another realtor’s site instead.

Accessible and Easy to Search Listings

This is why most potential clients come to your site – they want to see what properties are available. This should be one of the very first things that customers see when they visit your website. Don’t make the search options difficult to find, buried on some random page. Put them front and center on your home page so people don’t have to waste time looking for them.

You also need to make sure that the listings are easily accessible. Some realtors force people to create an account or submit and e-mail address before searching through listings. This is a sure way to lose potential clients. Providing customers with the information they want will keep them interested.

A Variety of Shareable Content

Listings are essential, but they’re not the only type of content you should include on your site. The more information you can provide to potential clients, the better. Pictures help to sell homes, but videos sell an experience. Posting videos of homes and the neighborhoods they’re in will not only keep visitors to your site engaged, they will also help improve your ranking in search engine results.

Providing regular written content will also improve your visibility in search engines. When a search engine like Google ranks results, it takes into consideration how often and how recently a site is updated. Regularly posting informative and engaging articles on your site’s blog will help bump up your site’s ranking, which draws in more customers.

You also need to be sure that the content you provide on your site is sharable on social media. If someone sees an amazing home on your site then shares it with their friends and followers on social media, you’ve just received a bit of advertising for free. Those who are interested will click on the link, driving more traffic to your site.

Include Social Proof

Social proof is when people take others’ opinions into account before making a decision. An example of this would be looking at an online store to see how many “stars” a product has received before making a purchase.

For a realtor, testimonials will be the best way to offer social proof. The process of buying a home can seem overwhelming at times. Potential customers will feel reassured and be more confident in contacting agents if they know that others in the past have had positive experiences.

Contact Forms

In order to generate real estate leads through your website make sure you include an easy-to-use contact form on your site. Don’t expect that a potential customer will come to your site, find a listing they like, then call you directly. Technology has changed and people are changing with it. Of course you should provide your phone number for those who prefer that method of communication, but the more options you provide, the more people you can reach.

It’s time to put your website to work for you. Make the investment to upgrade and improve your site, and watch the leads come funneling in.

Visit marketingwebsites.ca and request a free consultation!

 

Secrets of Successful Real Estate Ads

images-7In any business, figuring out the most ideal way to market your business is one of the keys to success and growth. While we can always point to other similar businesses that have come before us, it is best to find our own path and carve out our own specific niche for ourselves. Even though the housing market fluctuates like waves in the ocean, one thing stays the same- the need for real estate and the customers willing to buy it. Here are 5 secrets of successful real estate ads.

1. The brand is the star

If you have spent the time and effort creating a strong brand, it should be the star of any ad campaign. You can tailor your message to accommodate the temporary trends in the market while staying true to the overall messaging that your brand conveys. It is a delicate dance, but one that is necessary for the sake of consistency.

2. Reference customer trends

Trends come and go. They can be the dominate topic discussed in marketing and branding meetings one week and be gone by the next. However, as fleeting as they may be, they are what the market needs. A good real estate ad taps into the moment and utilizes the trends to gain relevance and connect with customers.

3. Adapt the message

While trends do change quickly, this is no reason to render your hard earned efforts in previous advertising useless. A good advertising plan can adapt the message of existing advertisements and evolve as the overall trends do. Ride out the ups and downs instead of re-inventing the wheel each time around.

4. Use data to monitor progress

Successful real estate ads have many factors to consider. You may be increasing your brand recognition, but is the messaging getting through? While adapting to the trends in your area did you go off message with your overall brand? These questions can be hard to consider unless you use data to gain an objective perspective. Quality advertising utilizes data to evaluate the efficiency of your advertising and can yield useful insights into what is working and how it can be tweaked for maximum outcomes.

5. Managed by professionals

A stellar advertising plan is best when executed by professionals who have the most experience possible in real estate brands. Selecting a team of experts with a history of retooling and rethinking ads can give you the peace of mind you need when making the decision to outsource your advertising needs.

Best Real Estate Advertising

If you’re not visible in the real estate market, you don’t exist from the commercial viewpoint. Buyers who’re looking out to buy their dream home are always on the look out for properties that they can reach through credible sources. So if you’re a real estate broker, you must take the advertising part seriously. Earlier, word of mouth publicity or references and for-sale-sign were the only way to sell a property. However, times have changed with the evolution of the Internet. Visibility in the real estate market can be increased by following some of these tips.

Online Advertising, a Present Reality
Pay per click advertising has been the biggest hit in recent years. You can take the help of Google AdSense to put ads of your property on the Internet. When a user is searching for information related to property, the ad may pop up informing the reader about your property. You’re only required to pay for the ad, if the user clicks on it. The same link can be used to direct users to your blog or real estate firm website.

The Ubiquitous Classifieds
Local and national newspaper classifieds are still not obsolete, and so you shouldn’t mind advertising in them about your property. This is specially true for large-scale real estate firms who have dozens of properties to be sold. Thanks to the Internet, even online classifieds are available on websites like Craigslist. In fact, every Internet search engine, be it Google or Yahoo, has its own real estate listings. You can take the help of their listings. Do include digital images of the property you’re showcasing. Your buyer may like the design of your property and if he is interested, he may visit the property to see it personally. You can also post information or ads on social sites like Facebook.

Virtual Reality
Ever made a video or done something similar? If not, then it is the time to do so. If you’re a large real estate firm, hire professionals and make a video featuring your property and surroundings. Professionals will do it very creatively, and it will look like a typical TV ad. Upload it on YouTube and register with companies that help in uploading virtual tour videos on several real estate marketing websites. While YouTube membership is free of cost, you may have to pay some money to virtual tour video uploading companies.

A Pen is Mightier than a Sword
Start a blog dedicated to real estate. Take SEO help to rank. In fact, there is not a great need for SEO work, if you’re wired to a network of professionals in the same field. Nevertheless, technicalities and authentic information do matter and the reader may find it pleasing to know everything on a single web page. You can also earn through your blog by placing ads on it.

Organize Fairs/Events
If you’re a large real estate firm, you may not need sponsors to help you organize a great business fair or property exhibitions. In fact, a large number of firms and newspapers will automatically help you to make the program a grand success. In the property exhibition, you can make models of all the properties you’re trying to sell. Meet some marketing professionals to know the creativity you can show in presenting information to people. Don’t forget to distribute pamphlets, business cards, and post ads in local newspapers regarding the property exhibition. Through the contacts you have built, invite a popular figure from the real estate market to inaugurate the function.

Billboards Do Strike the Minds
Every time I’m outside on the roads, I happen to carefully notice various billboard advertisements. Certainly billboard advertising is a great way to attract people. Though they may be distracting at times, even a glance at them, makes us remember any new ad or any new product launch. It is a creative way to make a place in the customers mind.

Creative For Sale Signs
Traditional advertising techniques like for-sale-signs may not be so popular now, but they do have a small, yet significant, role to play. Place for-sale signs on the gate or near a property, as it reminds people going through the route that the property is up for sale. You can be creative by putting your website or blog link on the sale sign, and can also give your professional contact number below it. Ensure these two things are readable on the sign board.

For large real estate firms, advertising properties is certainly a matter of millions in investment and they do that in style. For private owners or any independent real estate broker, even a small snippet in cable television or online classifieds are enough. The capital invested in real estate advertising can vary depending on who you are; a home owner or a real estate tycoon!

Finding a Good Real Estate Agent

Whether you are on the hunt in purchasing or selling your dwelling place, getting in touch with the best real estate agent is quite essential. To be honest it is quite hard in finding one. Listed below are 10 approaches which are to be noted for finding a potential agent.

Introduction about the particular realtor- This particular open ended question opens the floor for bargaining rights. You need to know how long the individual has been actively involved in the industry and you should know about his best sales.

  • More importantly how he has handled his previous clients
  • You should grab hold of the aptitude of his professionalism
  • At the same time you should gather information relating to his honest means
  • After he responds to all your queries, look at the professional approach and how he responds in the days to come.

Selling approach- As in individual it is the responsibility of knowing how many properties he has sold in the past six months or so. This will allow in knowing where the strength of the realtor lies. It will surely indicate about the rate of his success.

Home sense- It should be taken into account, if the agent is very much aware of the market. It should be known what type of property he is willing to sell and what type of property he generally sells as it has been suggested by the one of the Best Realtor in Ajax.

Location- What area of the city the agent is located is a pivotal thing which should be taken into consideration. An agent should have a complete knowledge about the neighborhood that you are looking to buy or sell.

Organization and affiliations- There are more than dozen or organizations and varied qualifications which are being needed to become an agent. You need to check out the authenticity and the experience as being cited by individuals who are one of the Top Realtor in Pickering.

The references- you need to ask for three references, it will provide you all the pivotal questions. How the agent offers the three sources are to be noted with minute details. Make sure about the type of purchase and sell of the properties that they are carrying out.

Competition and advancement- Find out who the particular agent sees as his main competition. What are values and approaches which sets him apart? It should be noted if he is capable of handling his competitors with ease.

The modus-operandi of the agent- Carry out a research regarding the modus-operandi of the agent. Get to know how he works and how many workers are there under him.

What is the plan? – Whether you are purchasing or selling a property you need to have a plan and you must notify the agent regarding the plans. If he responds in a positive manner it will surely help you in making your worth count in quick time.

Ways to Maximize Sales Potential When Winter

Some say winter is the worst time to sell a home. Given the cold and stormy weather we have been experiencing, there are definitely challenges, but don’t be discouraged. First impressions and lasting impressions are key to progress potential buyers into active buyers. Be very wary as the slightest discomfort or issue can sour this experience and turn a buyer away from your home, but by addressing a few key areas, any winter woes can be easily avoided.

Here are five simple tips to maximize the showing potential of your home during the winter months.

1. Pet-Friendly—and Groomed!

If you do own pets, be sure to have the appearance of clean pets…especially dogs. We love our furry friends, but it’s best not to leave those dirty slush-soaked towels and doggy outfits laying around. The last thing you want is the smell of wet dog greeting your buyers at the front door

2. Don’t Let Winter be an Obstacle

It’s storming or just post-storm, but you have showings booked for your home. (You must have motivated buyers to go out in that weather!) Don’t make it even more of a chore for them, be sure to shovel your drive or walkway so that the first impression is a clean and accessible entry. Buyers have been known to turn away, rather than hike to the doorway in knee deep snow and risk snow in their shoes, wet pants, and wet socks.

3. Consider Your Home’s Temperature

Remember, buyers are usually viewing more than one home at a time, and thus traveling around and running in and out of cars or up and down elevators in condos. Typically they will be dressed for the great outdoors, so although having the heat way up is great for lounging on the couch, it can be oppressive for visiting buyers. Be sure to monitor the temperature of the entire house and set it appropriately.

4. Get Buyers Out of the Dark and Into the Light

The winter months also mean shorter days and less natural light. Be sure to have adequate lighting in every room. Dark rooms are depressing when coming in from the cold. Keep it bright in the winter. Some may object for energy saving reasons, but it is best to leave all the lights on before showings or use timers. This allows you to set the mood lighting, and saves the buyers fumbling for light switches.  Remember first impressions.  Is your home a sanctuary or an oasis from the cold?

5. Preparation is Key

Be sure to prepare for those wet and snowy shoes and boots. No one likes having snow and dirt tracked around there home by shoes or wet socks, just as no one enjoys having wet socks and dodging puddles in the doorway.  Be sure to have a “Shoes Off” sign. Place an absorbent mat protecting your stone or wood flooring. Be sure to have a shoe tray or appropriate storage area for shoes, not only to avoid the puddles but to show off the organization of your home.  Apply this also to winter jackets, hats and scarves. Show functioning and organization by thoughtfully arranged set ups, don’t just have outerwear exploding out of closets or haphazardly hanging on hooks or coat racks.

 

Ways to Staging Your Home

You don’t have to break the bank to have your house looking as though it was professionally staged. These tips and tricks will have your house sell-ready and gorgeous before you can say “why hasn’t it always looked this way?!”

1) De-Clutter

The first step in getting ready to sell is de-clutter, de-clutter, de-clutter so potential buyers aren’t overwhelmed by your stuff, but rather impressed by your home. Counters and other surfaces should be kept clear and any furniture that isn’t needed stored away. The good news about this tedious task is packing and purging will make moving day that much easier.

2) Lights and Mirrors

Warm lighting and well-placed mirrors can make your home feel bright, inviting and even bigger. Mirrors placed over fireplaces, and along hallway walls will make rooms appear larger than they are. Table lamps, and overhead lighting like chandeliers and sconces will brighten rooms and add some flair to your decor.

3) It’s Nothing Personal

Any personal effects should be packed away; family photos and mementoes, framed degrees, anything that’s a link to the current owner. Buyers want to imagine themselves in the house, so the more the house is a blank slate, the easier that is.

4) But Don’t Touch the Nursery!

Although the nursery and childrens’ rooms should be de-cluttered and tidied as well, personal effects can remain as they are. There’s something reassuring and touching about seeing a baby’s room that can mean all the difference to a potential buyer (especially ones that are starting a family).

5) Neutrals

Although you love that fuchsia accent wall, some buyers may not. A fresh coat of bright, neutral paint will not only enlarge the house and make it feel airy and more spacious, but it will also help buyers with their vision (there’s that blank slate again).

6) Accents and Colour

To complement the neutral house, a few well-placed bright pops of colour will bring the decor together. Bright throw pillows, or a canary yellow kettle on the stove will be noticed as soon as you enter the room and will stick in buyers minds once they leave. Fresh flowers are another great idea, and single flower arrangements are most effective.

7) Inviting Scents

Warm inviting scents will help your house be remembered. Taking the time to bake cookies or mull cider on the stove may not be in the cards (and the stove and elements should be off for open houses) but a safely placed candle or air freshener will do the trick.

8) Draw Attention to Selling Features

As a general rule closet doors should be kept closed, but if there’s a walk-in that should be noticed, a small note to alert potential buyers is ok.

9) Freshen Your Linens

Now’s the time to use your spare “good” set on beds, and ensure your towels and hand-towels are in tip top shape. And if it’s perhaps time to replace them, think neutral again.

Tips Before Tackling Your Home Renovation

Renovating your home can be thrilling and when the results are exactly what you wanted, there’s nothing more satisfying. But they can also be stressful and costly, in both time and money. Here are five things to consider before undergoing a renovation, whether the job is big, or small.

Does The Renovation Require Permits?

Generally, small changes can be done on your own, but larger projects involving additions or altering the existing structure, electrical or plumbing may require permits. It’s important to be aware of the rules of your city, as undergoing renos without the required permits can mean timely delays, fines and ultimately stretching your budget. Sites like the Ontario Ministry of Housing and Affairs are a great resource and a good idea to bookmark.

Has Your Contractor Been Vetted?

It’s always smart to get a few quotes for every job, and references are essential. There are too many horror stories out there to make absolute sure that anyone who’s working on your home has been thoroughly vetted. Ask to see a portfolio of their work, or call a referral or two, this could save you a lot of heartache down the road.

Do You Have a Buffer?

Often, the reality of renovating seems to be it costs more money, and takes longer (sometimes a lot longer) than expected. Building in a buffer of both time, and money is a great idea and a good way to set proper expectations. (And hey, sometimes they do finish on time, for the actual quote!)

Should You Relocate During the Job?

Packing up (especially if you have kids) might seem like a complete pain, but trying to live through a renovation might be an even bigger one. Add to that the dust and dirt that’s loosened (which can be a lot more than you’d expect), and you may be breathing easier if you choose to stay with family or at a hotel.

So Do You REALLY Want This?

After weeks of researching design ideas, vetting contractors and saving the money you’ll need (plus a little buffer), now’s the time to really weigh the pros and cons. Do you really want to do this? And if the answer is yes, good luck! Renovating, whether it’s something small, or a big, can mean one step closer to living in the home of your dreams (once the nightmare of the renovation ends of course).

Choosing Big Design Trends

Every year home design trends come and go but it’s never too late to try something new. Update your décor and impress your friends (and yourself) at the same time, by including some of this year’s hottest design trends.

Warm Metals

Especially in the kitchen. Seems grey isn’t only taking a backseat in the living room, but in the kitchen this year as well. Warmer bronzes, golds and black are replacing sleek chrome and stainless steel when it comes to lighting and cabinetry accents. And if you’re really looking to make a big splash, try some bronze sconces in the kitchen.

Pantone Colour of the Year

Year after year the iconic people at Pantone come up with their colour of the year, inspiring not only home décor trends but fashion and other design areas across the board as well. For 2014, the colour du jour is: Radiant Orchid, a gorgeous pinky purple-hue. An infusion of this beauty would be a welcome breath of colour anywhere—from kitchen to bedroom and every room in between.

Florals

Florals are holding strong and continuing to be on-trend this year, but they’re definitely growing in size. Now, pretty blooms, the bigger the better are a force to be reckoned with. What lovelier way to add some vibrant colour and bold patterns to your home than throw pillows, sheets or duvet covers with big bright florals. (Try to find some with radiant orchid for a double-dose of style.)

Blue & Blue

Black’s younger, lighter cousin grey has certainly had its heyday, but this is the year for something far more dramatic. Black walls are en vogue—think entire living and dining rooms–but if you’re not ready to go all in, try one accent wall or the always-in-style coupling with white. And when it comes to blue, think every shade–from lovely sky blue dishes displayed in your kitchen, to darker navy and white striped towels in your bathroom.

Vintage

Everything old is new again but the good news is mixing and matching is totally ok. A distressed old-trunk serving as a coffee table or impressive antique maps framed and hung on the walls, not only serve as beautiful, on-trend décor pieces, but add a lot of intrigue (and conversation starters) to the room.