The Gold Standard in Real Estate 7 December 2023

Century 21 Assurance Realty Proudly Celebrates One of Our Own

Out of 12,000 hard working, dedicated Century 21 Realtors across Canada, one of our own stood out amongst the rest. Anne Wolfe was recently named 2023 Sales Associate of the Year and was presented the award by Century 21 Canada president and CEO, Martin Charlwood, at the annual OneC21 Conference in Calgary.

Anna Carbone, Partner at Century 21 Assurance Realty, highlighted Wolfe’s work ethic and commitment to the brand.

“This incredible milestone and achievement is a nod to Anne’s outstanding performance, professionalism, community work, and engagement with the Century 21 brand, network, and tools. We’re thrilled to be a part of Anne’s successful journey in Real Estate.”

Having recently surpassed 20 years with Century 21, Wolfe was selected from a shortlist of agents nominated by the company’s brokers and agents. The main criteria for the award include:

  • Industry Success
  • Community Ties
  • Engagement with Tech and Program Tools
  • Representation of the brand’s “Gold Standard” of client excellence

“I feel honored and grateful to have received this year’s C21 Sales Associate of the Year award,” said Wolfe. “Having been with Century 21 for over 20 years – in two different provinces – the integrity of the organization, as well as its ability to pivot and grow with changing times has made it the best place to grow my business! The support of my family, agents, and brokers at Century 21 Assurance Realty and my Century 21 Canada family as a whole are a huge part of my success in real estate!”

In The CommunityIn The Community 18 October 2023

Spooky Halloween Activities in the Okanagan

With Halloween just a few weeks away and the crisp fall weather already in the Okanagan, many people are starting to look for activities to help them get into the spooky season mood. Whether you’re looking for a good scare or are looking for something fun to do with the kids, there are dozens of fantastic Halloween activities and events happening throughout the valley.

We’ve highlighted a few spooky Halloween activities happening in the Okanagan over the next few weeks that are definitely worth checking out.

Trick or treating in the Okanagan

Haunted Farm Adventure

Hosted by Don-O-Ray Farm, the Haunted Farm Adventure will provide fun for all ages! The ghost town of Deadwood has reawakened and the fall activities are in full swing, including a hedge maze that is full of spooky surprises, twists, turns, and dead ends. While you’re enjoying the spooky fun, you can also pick up your pumpkins straight from their pumpkin patch! With dates running throughout the month of October, make sure to drop in and enjoy their Haunted Farm Adventure!

Haunted House at the Museum

If you’re looking to visit a Haunted House this spooky season, then look no further than the Westbank Museum’s 3rd annual Haunted House at the Museum. Entry is by donation and they have several dates between now and Halloween for you to enjoy. Bring your friends and family and make your way through the haunted house – if you dare!

Halloween Movie in the Vineyard

Visit Priest Creek Family Estate Winery this October and enjoy a Halloween Movie Night in the Vineyard! On Friday, October 27th, they will be screening The Haunted Mansion for everyone to enjoy. This is a ticketed event with adult tickets at $15 and kid tickets at $10. Don’t forget to enjoy a wine tasting while you’re there!

Jack-o-lantern pumpkin for halloween

Halloweenie at Grizzli Winery

For those who are looking for both kid-friendly and pet-friendly Halloween events around the Okanagan this fall, Grizzli Winery is the place to be. Their 4th annual Halloweenie event is a non-scary, ‘lights on’ indoor event that is perfect for young kids. Kids can join in on fun Halloween-themed activities such as a scavenger hunt, mini-pumpkin decorating station, outdoor s’mores around the fire, and more while parents can enjoy wine from the winery. Admission is $5 and covers a variety of things for both adults and children.

Family Monster Bash

Join the City of Kelowna for their Family Monster Bash at the Kelowna Capital News Centre on Sunday, October 29th! This is a free event perfect for the whole family and will include an obstacle course, bouncy house, Halloween games, face painting, and more. The concession will be open for purchasing food and drinks, and the ice rink will be open for free skating.

There is never a shortage of great events happening throughout the Okanagan, and the Halloween season is no exception! These events are sure to get you into the spooky spirit, just in time for Halloween!

Are you thinking about moving to the Okanagan and making it your home? We can help! Contact Max Carbone to be connected to one of our experienced real estate agents.

Preparing Your Listing for SaleSellers Advantage 21 August 2023

Top Tips for Downsizing Your Home

While having a large home with lots of room for kids and pets to run around can be great, there will likely come a time once the kids have moved out and you find yourself with more square footage than you know what to do with. In this scenario, many homeowners find themselves looking to downsize their home and find something a bit more manageable for their current lifestyle. But downsizing can be a daunting and sometimes emotional task that can be overwhelming if you don’t take steps to help streamline the process.

If you’re thinking about downsizing your home, we’ve put together a few tips to help make the downsizing process as stress-free as possible.

Small space kitchen

Declutter Before You Move

One of the best ways to make downsizing a breeze is to declutter your home before you move. Not only will this help eliminate items you don’t have space for in your new home, but it will also save time so you can avoid packing items that actually don’t need to make the move. Compare your current home with the home you’re moving into and take inventory of items that aren’t necessary.

Start Small

The idea of having to downsize and declutter an entire house can feel incredibly overwhelming, so it’s important that you remember to start small. Rather than looking at your home as a whole, start with just one room, such as a bedroom, and go from there. Making a list can also be helpful – jot down any items or pieces of furniture that you know you no longer need, and deal with them when you come to that room rather than trying to tackle everything at once.

Small space bedroom

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Help

Asking for help can be hard to do, but when it comes to downsizing and moving, it can be a game-changer! If you have friends and family who are willing to help with the downsizing process, take them up on it! Sometimes just having an outside opinion and an extra pair of hands can make the entire process go much faster and make it less stressful.

Utilize Space-Saving Options

When thinking about what furniture to take to your new place, it is a good idea to look at pieces that might serve more than one purpose or offer hidden storage. It’s also important to ensure that the furniture you currently have will fit in your new space, especially if you’re moving from a house to a smaller townhouse or condo. With so many great space-saving options available, you’ll be able to find something that will fit your needs while maximizing your space with additional storage or seating.

Whether you’re downsizing because you no longer need the space that you currently have or are just looking to simplify your life, these tips will help keep the downsizing and moving process simple and stress-free so you can spend less time worrying and more time enjoying your new space!

Looking to downsize from your current home into something smaller? We can help! Contact Max Carbone today to get connected to one of our experienced real estate agents!

Hot TipsHot TipsHot TipsHot Tips 5 July 2023

Tips for Keeping Your Home Safe During Summer Vacations

Now that the sunshine and hot weather are here, many people will set off on their summer vacations. Whether you’re planning to stick close to home this summer or are planning a larger getaway, it’s important to make sure you have everything in order before setting off, including making sure your home is safe and secure. The last thing you want on vacation is to receive a call that something has gone wrong, so we have highlighted some steps you can take to help ensure that your home and belongings will be safe until you return.

Whether you’re leaving town for an extended period of time or are just leaving for a day or two, following these steps before you leave will help keep your home safe while you’re on vacation.

Watering flowers while homeowners are on vacation

Get a House Sitter

One of the easiest ways to ensure that your home will be safe and secure while you’re on vacation is to hire a house sitter to keep an eye on the place. Some house sitters will actually stay in your home, which will help make it look lived-in. Alternatively, some house sitters will stop by your home once a day or once every few days to make sure that everything is in order. Not only is this a great way to ensure that your home is being looked after, but it also means you can have someone stopping by to water flowers and other plants that might suffer in the hot Okanagan sun.

Lock All Windows & Doors

Before leaving on vacation, make sure to walk around your home and check that every window and door is closed and locked. This will help improve your home’s security and will help give you peace of mind that everything is locked up and secure. You might think that simply closing your windows is enough, but ensuring that they are locked as well will help keep every possible entrance to your home safe and secure.

Install Smart Locks & Security Cameras

Investing in a security system or smart locks is a great idea if you plan to be away from home for an extended period of time, but it is also an investment that will benefit you and your home year-round. There are many great, easily accessible options available, such as the Ring Video Doorbells or the Google Nest security cameras, many of which are easy to install and connect to an app on your phone so you can keep track of what’s happening from wherever you are. Smart locks are also a great way to ensure your home’s security, as many of them give you the ability to lock and unlock your doors from anywhere.

Make It Look Like Someone’s Home

If you have a trusted friend or neighbour looking after your home while you’re away, there are a few things you can ask them to do to make it look like your home is being lived in, even if you’re away. If there are cars left in your driveway, arrange to move them every so often to make it look like you’ve been out and about. Having someone collect your mail is also a great way to keep it from piling up so it’s not so obvious that no one is home. If your blinds or drapes are normally open, keep them this way so that it looks like nothing is out of the ordinary. You can also leave a light or two on to make it seem like someone is home.

While it might be tempting to rush out and make the most of your summer vacation, taking the time to properly secure your home will help give you peace of mind that it’s being looked after and will allow you to enjoy your holidays without worrying about your home or your belongings.

 

Thinking about calling the Okanagan home, but don’t know where to start? We can help! Contact Max Carbone today to be connected with one of our experienced agents.

Consumer Tips For Real EstatePreparing Your Listing for Sale 10 March 2023

Top Home Improvements To Tackle Before Selling Your Home

If you’re planning to put your home on the market in the next few months, it might be worthwhile to consider some home improvements before selling. While making improvements to your home before selling might seem counterintuitive, it can actually be a great way to boost your return on investment. Making a few simple upgrades can help attract potential buyers and help you get top dollar for your home.

We’ve selected a few top home improvements to make before selling your home.

Kitchen interior that has been updated

Home Improvements for Selling: Upgrade Kitchen Fixtures

Home improvements, such as replacing the roof or updating flooring throughout your home can be quite costly, but there are other improvements you can make that won’t break the bank, such as upgrading the fixtures in your kitchen. Taking the time to update the hardware on your cabinets or swap out an old faucet for a new, more modern one can make a huge difference in the overall look and feel of the room, which can help catch the attention of potential buyers.

Refresh The Bathroom

Similarly to updating your kitchen, making a few, inexpensive changes to your bathroom can have a huge impact and make your home stand out on the market. Kitchens and bathrooms are high-priority rooms for many buyers, so updating the cabinet hardware or adding a fresh coat of paint is a great way to update the space and attract attention to some of your home’s special features.

Couple repainting their home before selling

Add A Fresh Coat of Paint

Potential buyers want to be able to visualize themselves living in whatever home they are viewing, and sometimes homes with bright, bold paint colours can make it difficult for buyers to do so. If you want to make a few simple upgrades before selling but don’t want to break the bank, try adding a fresh coat of paint to the walls to brighten the space and make it a blank canvas for potential buyers. Choose a light, neutral paint colour, as it will help bring light into your home and create a clean slate for whoever ends up purchasing your home.

Update Your Front Porch

The curb appeal of your home might be one of the last things you think about when it comes to making home improvements before selling, but it can actually make a huge impact. The front of your home will be the first impression, so taking the time to tidy up the front porch is a great way to make potential buyers feel welcome in the space. Make sure walkways are clear of debris and ensure that outdoor furniture is tidy and there are no tripping hazards. Adding a fresh, bright coat of paint to the front door and adding a flower pot or two will add personality to your porch and create a warm welcoming feel to your home.

While these home improvements may seem simple, they’re a great way to boost the return on investment of your home and help attract the best buyer for your space.

 

 

Are you thinking about putting your home on the market but aren’t sure what you can do to get top dollar? We can help! Contact Max Carbone to learn more.

Hot TipsSellers Advantage 24 February 2023

Home Staging Tips To Make Your Home Stand Out

When it comes to selling your home, there are a lot of different things that you can do to help it stand out in the market. Staging your home is probably one of the easiest things you can do, and it can have a considerable impact. Taking the time to stage your home can help showcase its best features and help potential buyers visualize how they would make the space their own.

We’ve taken the time to break down some top home staging tips to help your home make a big impact and stand out in the market.

Living room staged for sale

Home Staging Tips: Focus on Key Rooms

Focusing on the key rooms in your home when staging is a great place to start, as these are the rooms that potential buyers will focus on the most. The kitchen, living room, dining room, and primary bedroom should be the spaces you focus on first, especially if you don’t have the time to stage every single room in your home. When staging a home, you’ll want to focus on maximizing space and functionality in these spaces, so potential buyers can easily visualize themselves living in the home and using those spaces regularly. If you choose to rearrange furniture, make sure you aren’t blocking any high-traffic areas, and remember that in most cases, less is more.

Declutter & Depersonalize

One of the biggest things to remember when staging your home is to focus on making your home appeal to everyone. This often means removing personal items, such as family photos or mementos, to keep the space simple and clean. You might love a particular sentimental photo, but it might be distracting to a potential buyer and keep them from being able to visualize themselves living in the space. This doesn’t mean you have to get rid of your personal items, but tucking them away while your home is on the market will benefit you in the long run. Decluttering is also important, as clutter can often make rooms seem much smaller than they actually are. As mentioned above, less is often more, so don’t be afraid to keep your decor to a minimum to help your home appeal to a larger variety of potential buyers.

Living room in house for sale

Freshen Up The Space

When it comes to home staging, many people tend to just think about furniture and decor placement when there are other ways to help freshen up a space. Adding a fresh coat of paint to the walls is one of the easiest ways to bring new life to a room, and keeping the colour light and bright is a great way to make your home appear bigger and more spacious. Choosing a neutral paint colour will also appeal to a larger group of potential buyers, as they will be able to visualize the different design choices they might make should they purchase your home. Again, if you don’t have the ability to paint every room in your home, focus on the important spaces such as the kitchen and living room first, as those will be the spaces that potential buyers will look at first.

Maximize Your Curb Appeal

Don’t forget to take your staging outdoors! It can be easy to focus entirely on the interior of your home, but taking the time to boost your home’s curb appeal can also have a huge impact, as it is the first impression that potential buyers get of your home. It’s easy to boost your home’s curb appeal during the summer months by adding some flower pots to your porch and ensuring that your lawn is mowed and clutter-free. The winter months can be challenging, especially if there’s snow on the ground, but taking the time to ensure your sidewalk is cleared and free of ice and debris will go a long way. Adding a coat of paint to your front door is a great way to add a pop of colour to help potential buyers easily recognize your home and add personality.

While home staging can seem like a tedious process, it can have a huge impact on how your home looks on the market. Not only does staging accentuate the fantastic features of your home, but it can allow potential buyers to visualize themselves in the space, which can help lead to more offers!

 

Are you thinking about selling your home and need an experienced agent to help you through the selling process? We can help! Contact Max Carbone to learn more.

Consumer Tips For Real EstateConsumer Tips For Real EstateConsumer Tips For Real EstateConsumer Tips For Real EstateConsumer Tips For Real EstateConsumer Tips For Real EstateHome BuyersHot Tips 10 February 2023

What To Do Before Buying A Home

There’s a lot that goes into the process of buying a home, including determining where you want to buy, finding an agent, viewing properties, and finally, making an offer. But what many people don’t consider are all the things that need to be done before you even begin looking at properties. The home-buying process can be stressful, so taking the time to research and fully understand everything that goes into buying a home is vital to making sure the entire process goes as smoothly as possible.

We’ve broken down a few things that you should do before buying a home to help you get started on the right foot and make finding your dream home a stress-free experience!

Home buyers speaking to mortgage broker to get pre-approved

Buying a Home: Know Your Budget

Before you even begin looking at potential properties, the very first thing you should do is establish your budget. Understanding exactly how much you can afford is incredibly important, as it will keep you from looking at (and potentially falling in love) a property that is outside of your budget. After deciding you’re ready to buy a home, sit down and look at your finances to determine how much you’ll be able to afford for a mortgage. Don’t forget to factor in other expenses that come with owning a home, such as insurance and utilities.

Get Pre-Approved

Another important step to take before beginning your home-hunting journey is getting pre-approved for a mortgage. A pre-approval informs you of how much a mortgage lender is willing to lend you. This number is based on a number of different factors, including:

  • Income
  • Credit Rating
  • Debts

Your lender will also be able to guarantee the current interest rate for up to 120 days, which allows you to house hunt without worrying about any interest rate increases. Getting pre-approved before beginning your house hunt will not only help you stay within your budget but will also help show real estate agents that you are serious about buying a home.

Potential home buyer touring home

Choose An Agent

Once you’ve established your budget and have been pre-approved, your next step is to find a great real estate agent to work with. Buying a home is a huge investment and is likely one of the largest purchases you will make in your lifetime, so working with a knowledgeable agent will help take some of the stress out of the process. The right agent is going to be professional, knowledgeable, and responsive, and will do their best to find you the right home for the best price.

Determine Where You Want To Buy

You might have given a lot of thought to the kind of home you want to buy, whether that be a condo, townhouse, or single-family home, but taking location into consideration is also important. If you’re familiar with the area that you’re buying in, consider the different neighbourhoods and try to find one that is going to suit you and your needs best. Some people may want to prioritize things like green space and activities, while others might be focused on proximity to work, to avoid long commute times. If you’re unfamiliar with the area, ask your real estate agent for their thoughts. They are the area experts, and will be able to give you the ins and outs of the neighbourhoods you’re interested in so you can find the one that’s right for you.

Keys in door of new home

Start Home Hunting

After taking the necessary steps to prepare for the home-buying process, it’s time to begin searching for your perfect home! Spend some time looking through current listings in your preferred areas, and set up some showings with your real estate agent to view the properties in person. Photos and 3D tours can give you a good idea of the space and how a property is laid out, but actually walking through the space will allow you to see how you, your family, and your belongings would fit in the space. Remember that finding the perfect home can take some time, so patience is key in the home-buying process!

Whether you’re searching for your first home or are looking to move up or downsize, taking the necessary steps to prepare for the entire buying process will help ensure you are taken seriously as a buyer and can find the perfect home!

 

 

Ready to find your next home? We can help! Contact Max Carbone to learn more.

Consumer Tips For Real EstateHome Buyers 27 January 2023

5 Questions You Should Ask When Hiring a Real Estate Buyer’s Agent

Purchasing a home is likely one of the largest and most significant purchases you will make in your lifetime, so finding the right real estate agent is essential. Not only will they help walk you through the entire home-buying process from start to finish, but they will also advocate for you when it comes to negotiating and finding the perfect home. When it comes to hiring a real estate agent, taking the time to interview a few is key to finding the right one for you.

We’ve put together a list of 5 questions that you can ask when hiring a real estate agent to help you get started in your interviewing process.

Couple touring empty house with real estate agent

Hiring a Real Estate Agent: How Long Have You Been In Real Estate?

A real estate agent that has been in the business for a long period of time will likely have more experience than a newer agent and will be able to better anticipate any problems that may arise during the home-buying process. This isn’t to say that you can’t work with a less-experienced agent, but getting a feel for how long an agent has been working in the real estate industry is a great way to start your interview. Another benefit of working with an experienced agent is that they likely have established solid relationships with other real estate services professionals, such as home inspectors, and will be able to refer you to them if needed.

What Is Your Area of Focus?

Another great question to ask your prospective agent is what their area of focus, or expertise, is. While some agents are looking to work for all sorts of clients, some have specialized focuses, such as first-time home buyers or those looking to downsize. These agents will likely have more experience with certain pain points you might experience during the home-buying process and will be able to inform and help you navigate any challenges or frustrations that you may feel.

Real estate agent handing over keys to house

Are You Familiar With My Desired Neighbourhood?

Finding a real estate agent that is knowledgeable about your desired area is also incredibly important, especially if you’re moving to a new city that you’re not familiar with. It’s a real estate agent’s job to know what is going on in their local market, so they will be able to help you either find a neighbourhood that will suit your needs, or give you as much information as they can on the neighbourhood you have in mind. Liveability factors play a huge role in day-to-day life, whether it be proximity to schools, transit, or other amenities, so finding an area that fulfills those requirements is key to finding your ideal home. Working with an agent who is familiar with your desired neighbourhood will also allow them to give you accurate information regarding home values in the area. This will help you get an idea of what other homes in the area have sold for and can help you determine whether or not you’re paying the right price for a property.

Can You Explain The Home-Buying Process?

You want to make sure that you end up working with a real estate agent who knows what they’re doing, which is why you should ask them to explain the entire home-buying process to you. Buying a home can be stressful and complicated at times, so working with an agent who understands the ins and outs of the process is key to making your buying experience as stress-free as possible. There are a lot of different rules and regulations when it comes to buying a home, so your real estate agent will be able to explain and help you understand everything that goes into the buying process.

Couple reviewing contract with real estate agent

Do You Have References or Reviews?

One of the most common ways that people find real estate agents is through referrals from friends and family, so you likely already have one review to rely on, but it’s always a good idea to seek out more when possible. Reviews from past clients are a great way to gauge whether or not an agent is going to be the right fit for you, so don’t be afraid to ask for more references if needed. Most agents will have reviews displayed on their website or in a Google Business profile, which makes them easy to find.

Regardless of whether or not you’re buying your first home or your fifth home, taking the time to find the right agent is essential to making sure the entire home-buying process goes smoothly and is as stress-free as possible.

 

 

Are you thinking about buying a home and want to get in touch with one of our experienced agents? We’d love to hear from you! Contact Max Carbone to learn more.