• Prince Edward County - The Hamptons of the North

    Did you know that the Bay of Quinte region (of which Prince Edward County is a part), is home to Canada's largest rural craft beer and cider region and is Ontario's fastest growing wine region?  

    Yeah, me neither!  Full disclosure, I had no idea Prince Edward County (PEC) was a place worth visiting until this summer when we were looking for a weekend getaway within a few hours drive.

    Here's a rundown of places we stayed at and visited that are totally worth checking out.  Whether just for the day for for an entire weekend, you won't be short on things and places to discover in PEC.

    Norman Hardie Winery - Located in Wellington, this self-contained winery specializes in Pinot noir, Chardonnay and other cool climate varieties of exceptional quality and elegance.  Tours and tastings are available and be sure to stop for a bite to eat in on-site restaurant which features a variety of wood-fired oven pizzas.

    The Drake Devonshire Inn - Located literally on the shore of Lake Ontario, the Drake Devonshire is one of the most picturesque places you'll ever stay.  We had lunch at their restaurant which was voted as one of the top 100 restaurants in Canada (and with good reason).  The meal was phenomenal as was the service and the atmosphere.  This is city dining and urban sophistication meets summer camp.

    Midtown Brewing Company - This recently opened brewery located in Wellington checks all the boxes.  Great food, great atmosphere and of course great craft beer selection.  The staff was friendly and knowledgeable and it was an overall pleasure to visit.  

    Wildcard Brewing - This gem of a brewery well off the beaten path in Trenton is truly a diamond in the rough.  They offer a selection of great beers (their 'Blonde Barista' was a favourite) some especially great for summer sippin'.  They won over this 90's girl when they named one of their beers after the Notorious BIG.

    555 Brewing Company - This in another of the recently opened breweries in downtown Picton.  555 offers a dog friendly patio and wood fired oven.  The variety of beers was great and were perfectly paired with the variety of appetizers they offer (highly recommend the homemade pretzels!).

     

  • Boredom Buster Ideas for Kids

    We're kicking off week two of summer vacation today.  So how is everyone doing?  Going crazy yet?  Counting down the days until September?  Well not to worry, we've got you covered.  Here are a couple of fun crafts and activities we tried out that were big hits with the kids.  Perfect way to put in an afternoon outside.  

    Bubble Art Butterflies

    Check out Red Ted Art for this super fun kids art activity.  Bubble blowing process is a wonderful activity for kids so even if you choose not to turn your artwork into butterflies, kids will love the fun process of creating beautiful bubble blowing art.

     

    Sidewalk Foam Paint

    Head over the The Tip Toe Fairy for a great recipie for making sidewalk foam paint.  A fun twist on traditional sidewalk chalk that all kids seem to love!

  • Has the Pendulum Swung?

     

     

     

     

    Has the pendulum swung?

    What has happened? You have probably noticed while driving around an increase in the number of For Sale signs in any given area. Back in March houses were being listed, offers were being held and homes were selling for many thousands over list price. Buyers were feeling frustrated, defeated and annoyed, while sellers were sitting back and counting their profits. Recently the government has created a fair housing plan in an effort to cool the hot market. Did it work? Let's just say it's too soon to tell, but something definately did happen in a matter of a few weeks, but what? 

    Let me just break things down in the simplist way. In March 2017 there were about 17,000 new listings and in April 2017 that number rose to about 21,000. This is an increase of 27%, which has created a case of more INVENTORY. So why all the new listings? Hard to say. Perhaps Sellers wanted to take advantage of the hot market, they saw neighbours selling quickly and for way more money than they expected, so felt it was time to "cash out". 

    Here is another number for you. At the end of March there were still about 8000 active listings, while at the end of April that number was about 13000. This is how inventory is created. Buyers were sitting back possibly waiting to see how this new housing plan will affect them. We went from 0.65 months of inventory in March to 1.1 months in April. (Just on a side note - 5 months of inventory is considered a balanced market), so you can see that we are still in a hot market. Having this increase in inventory just means there is a little bit of change, but for the better we believe.

    When a Buyer has options and a selection of houses to choose from, it takes away the urgency of bidding on the house. They can, as we say "shop around". This is better for Buyers as they won't find themselves competeting for the most part. For Sellers however, they are competing with the other homes in their area, which means they need to be priced competitively. Usually, a lower pricing stragey is needed. What we are seeing is a decrease in the "holding off of offers", many listings are being terminated and re-listed at a price more in line with what the Seller wants. 

    Should Sellers be worried? We don't think so. There is the right Buyer out there for every home. It just takes time to find them. We have gone from homes selling in 1 day, to sitting on the market for a week plus. Seriously, this is not a long time but we have been programmed to think it is, coming out of a fast market only months ago.

    So, if you are considering selling a home soon, be sure you have a realistic expectiation of what your home is worth. Don't compare it to those that have sold in March/April because those prices were inflated. If you are considering buying a home, now is a great time. There is lots to choose from and you have a bit more time to make a decision. Hey, you may even be able to snag a house with an inspection or financing condition again. Imagine that!

     

    Need help buying or selling? Give us a shout.

  • Seafood Mac n' Cheese Recipe

    Click HERE to download a copy of this delicious recipe!

    Source:  This original recipe is from 'tasteofsouthern.com' and has been adjusted to suite our tastes.

  • Annual Colouring Contest

    Our annual Valentine's Day colouring contest starts today!  Colour and send a picture of your finished project to info@propertymatchmakers.ca for a chance to win a $50 Gift Card to Toys R Us. Entry deadline is February 13th and the draw will be on Valentines, Feb 14th. 

    Click HERE to download this year's colouring page.  Good luck!

     

  • What the Heck do You Put in a Gallery Wall?

    Gallery walls are not a new decorating trend.  Iterations of them have been popping up on Pinterest (and now Instagram) for years and there are lots of posts on how to create a layout and ideas on how and where to hang them.

    Where most people tend to struggle is choosing the items to use within it.  To me a gallery wall should represent something about you or your family.  It should hold meaning and it should make you happy whenever you look at it.

     

    Jenell's Gallery Wall

    Once you've decided where you want to hang your gallery and have a sense of the size of space you’re working with, you'll need to decide what your style is and how you want your wall to look when it’s done.  Do you want it to include only framed pictures of a similar style and colour (museum style) or do you like a mix of photos and other pieces of art with various amounts of colour?  Either will work but it’s important to keep in mind your style and what will make you happy in the end before you set about collecting pieces to use.

    For my wall, I knew I wanted it to have an eclectic look and I wanted it to be a mixture of family pictures and other pieces of art that held special meaning to me.  Melissa was more specific when it came to her wall.  She chose to use white frames of various sizes with posters from art gallery exhibits her and her husband have visited during their travels.  Jenell chose love and family as the theme for her wall and used the tree as the feature piece of art around which all the other elements were centered.

    Melissa's Gallery Wall (In Progress)

    Try to think of things that you may have that you’ve never really known what to do with.  For example, I have an old mirror that was my grandma’s.  It isn’t large enough to really use anywhere else in my house but it holds sentimental value so I worked that into my design.  I also used a Sid Dickens tile that I was given as a gift and a family crest from my father-in-law.  These items hung alone seem odd but by pulling them together they start to form a pretty cool design.  Large initial letters are always a great addition and can be found almost anywhere in a variety of styles.

    Once you have all the pieces you want to use you need to find a space big enough so you can lay it all out.  I took mine to my basement.  There is no science to this next part.  It’s really just laying all your pieces out on the ground and playing around with arrangements until you find one that you like.  Take your time with this.  Once I found an arrangement I liked I took a picture on my phone and left it for a day then came back.  It took a few attempts before I was happy with how it looked.

    Leslie's Gallery Wall

    From there it’s easy.  Snap a quick pic so you can refer to it while transferring your layout form the floor to your wall.

    A couple of tips:

    • When you layout your design, make sure you are working within a space similar to where you will be hanging your wall.  You don’t want to have everything laid out and then find you have to squish pieces together to make it work when it’s time to hang it on the wall
    • Don’t be afraid to reuse or repurpose what you have.  I had a lot of black frames that were the right size but wrong colour.  A few bottles of craft paint from Michael’s was an easy and cost effective solution
    • Don't discount your kids art!  Sett in a stylish frame or mounted on canvas, a simple paiting or drawing can be turned into a beautiful show piece that you don't just want to hang on your fridge
    • Remember, you are doing this for you!  It doesn’t have to look perfect to anyone else.  It’s about what you like and what makes you happy

    Check out our Pinterest page for pics of our walls and other examples of walls we love.

    Want to create a gallery wall but have no idea where to start?  Let us help!  Book a FREE 1-hour 'Fresh Look' design consultation with Property Matchmakers.  We'll set-up a time to come to your house and help you put a plan together to bring your vision to life.

     

     

     

  • 12 Days of Holiday Happiness

    As the calendar creeps closer to December and the end of another year is in sight, we are feeling a sense of gratitude for all the people we are fortunate enough to count as our clients.

    When you feel this good it’s hard not to want to share it, so we’re going to be spending the next 12 days spreading the warmth here in our own community.

    What good are the holidays without joy?  Why win the Super Bowl if you don’t enjoy the game?  One key indicator to longevity is happiness, and the most overlooked aspect of most activities is creating joy in the process, not the outcome.

    For the next 12 days, we’re asking for some random (and some not-so-random) acts of kindness.  When you realize that GIVING and SHARING make you happier than receiving possibly could, then you’ve got a way to make yourself happy for life. We’ll give you some cues to get you started. Call it Empathy OnRamp.

    To get the most from some these tasks, you’ll want to remain anonymous. For example, your first challenge is an easy one: buy a stranger a coffee. If you’re shy, you don’t need to be seen. You’re not looking for acknowledgement, after all.

    Simply share and like each day's post and you’ll be entered into the daily draw for a chance to win some cool swag. Completed each day’s task for an additional entry.  Let us know by commentting on our Facebook page.

    And if your friends ask what the heck you’re doing, tell them.  Take a picture and post it using the hashtag #propertymatchmakers12days.  Maybe we’ll start a landslide.

    *NOTE:  All winners must be willing to pick-up their prizes from our Whitby offices.  We are unable to mail or drop-off prizes.

     

  • THINGS WE LOVE: Best Squash Soup Recipe

    If there's one thing I loveto make when the leaves change the the weather gets cooler it's soup.  There is something about a hot bowl of soup on a chilly fall day that I love.  A few years ago I stumbled across this recipe for butternut squash soup from 'Caveman Strong' and it remains a favourite of me and my family to this day.  Check it out!  Do you have some favourite fall recipies?  If so we'd love to see them.  Share them to our Facebook page.
     

     

  • Things We Love: The Adobe Lightroom App

    Let me preface this post by saying that I in no way fancy myself a professional photographer.  Of course like everyone, once our first kiddo was born we splurged and bought a fancy DSLR camera to capture every adorable moment.  However as the years have gone on, there have been many occasions where dragging along my big camera just hasn't' been practical.

    But like most people I always have my phone with me.   The built in iPhone camera is ok but my pictures never seemed to turn out the way I wanted. I'm also a huge Photoshop junkie.  So when I discovered the Adobe Lightroom App I knew I had to give it a try. 

    One of the primary reasons I like it is that it's not just an editing app.  You can use it to take photos instead of using the standard iPhone app.  It also allows you to use a grid overlay so that you can compose your images more ideally (check out this link if you're not familiar with the Rule of Thirds) and set your white balance.

    I think my favourite feature of the app (beyond the fact that its FREE!!!) is it's built in filters that allow for minimal editing.  I love a good black and white photo so I find myself using the 'High Contrast Black & White' filter the most.  I have several photos up in my house that I've taken and I dare say most people would be hard pressed to determine which ones I took on my phone and which ones I took with my big camera.

    Here's an unedited sample image I took using the app.  Again, I'm not aiming for professional level pictures, I just want to capture great images of my family that I want to put up in our home.

    Try it out and see what you think.  There are a lot of great camera apps out there.  Ifyou've tried one out thatyou love let us know.  Were always on the hunt for new and cool apps to try!

    Leslie :-)

  • Kids Rooms that Won't Offend Your Sense of Style

    Those who know me know how much I LOVE to decorate and style my home.  I'm usually always working on a project for my house and I'll be the first to admit that I'm particular about the things I like (and don't like).  When my daughter was younger and the "Frozen" craze took over, I held my breath and waited for her to ask me for a Frozen themed bedroom (much to my chagrin).  With what I can only assume was karma on my side, she never asked and the novelty passed.  I mentally high-fived myself for not having to endure a room full of all things Disney *shudder*.

    I figured I wasn't going to be lucky enough the dodge that bullet twice, so when my son came to me and told me he wanted a Star Wars room I was ready.  I sat down determined to figure out how I was going to create a themed room that he'd like and that I'd be able to live with.

    Step one was bedding.  As always, I headed to Home Sense where I scored an awesome set of sheets for a reasonable price.  Even better, they would work perfectly with the navy blue comfortable and pillow shams he already had on his bed. As we all know, kids tastes are fleeting and ever changing so I only invest in key pieces like duvets and comforters in colours that are versatile and have longevity.  Inexpensive sheets and accent pillows allow me to change things up easliy as trends come and go.

     

    After the bedding was chosen paint colours were easy.  A quick trip to Home Depot with one of the pillowcases allowed me to colour match perfectly for the main walls of the room as well as the accent wall.   Next, I lucked out on a trip to Ikea where I notice a light that looked exactly like the Death Star (score!).  

    Finally it was time to pull it all together.  Artwork is something that tends to get overlooked or forgotten about especially in kids room but there are a lot of options to add interest to otherwise boring, blank walls.  For my son's room, I needed several pieces because I had a lot of empty walls to fill up so I opted to create my own art.  Much like the graphics we created for the kitchen backsplash in one of our client's homes (click HERE if you haven't read the article) I used some clip art** I purchased from Etsy and Photoshop.  If you don't have access to a program like Photoshop, there are free, web-based options like Canva that will allow you to do pretty much the same thing.

    The last piece was a decal for over the bed that ties the whole theme together.  Again, I turned to Etsy and was able to find exactly what I was looking for.

    Are you thinking of designing (or re-designing) a kids room?  Have questions about what we did?  Send us a message at info@propertymatchmakers.ca.  We'd love to chat!
     

    On to the next project,

    Leslie :-)

    **NOTE:  For this project I purchased clip art from Etsy and had my files printed at Costco.  Because the prints were of licensed images, I had to show proof of purchase for the clip art before I was allowed to pick up my prints.  Just something to keep in mind if you are considering a project like this for your own home.

     

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Toronto Real Estate Board - IDX Last Updated: 11/17/2017 7:15:32 AM