I need to tell you something… Buying and selling tips from a Realtor

Last night I was watching a show about a couple trying to find the perfect home. It was filled with all kinds of drama. “Will we ever find our perfect home”? They did.” Will our offer get accepted”? It did. The tension was palpable. As a realtor I find those shows about real estate make buying and selling a home look either like a piece of cake or like making a deal with the devil. The reality is somewhere in between. Of course those shows never tell you the most important things about buying or selling real estate.

I wanted to share a few things with you to hopefully help you out the next time you are in the midst of a real estate transaction.

The most important thing to remember in my opinion, is  whether you are a buyer or a seller is that these are legally binding contracts that you are entering into. This isn’t a time to fudge numbers to get a bigger mortgage or to cover up a leak that happened several years ago in the basement. The truth always comes out and when it does it can be a nightmare. Have I scared you yet? I don’t mean to. I just want to impress upon you the importance of having a game plan before you buy or sell and how to avoid a potential legal mess.  Here we go…

Lets start with the buyers.

Buying a home is a big deal. For the majority of us it will be the biggest purchase we will make in our life time. So lets talk about how can you make sure that the transaction goes smoothly and that you get the home of your dreams.

The first thing a buyer needs to do is talk to the bank. Getting pre approved should always be the first step in the home buying process. When you contact your realtor about viewing homes they will most likely ask you if you have been pre approved and for how much.

Now here is what not to do…go shopping for new furniture, a car, or put any large purchases on credit.  Many deals have fallen apart because buyers went on a spending spree before getting the loan documents signed. So please make sure that your loan has been officially approved, documents have been signed, and that the financing clause has been removed from your offer to purchase the home before putting anything (aside from your groceries) on credit.

Another important thing for a buyer to consider is their wants and needs. Make a list of what is important to you and show your realtor. If it is crucial that you have a three bedroom home, with a pool, and an eat in kitchen then let your realtor know so they can narrow down the search for you.

Of course as your search for a home goes forward your wants and needs may change, and that is okay. Just keep your realtor in the loop so they can do their best for you.

As I said before buying a home is a big deal. People get cold feet or have buyers remorse immediately after signing the offer. You wouldn’t believe the amount of times I have heard “what if it gets accepted?” in a panicked tone. Well isn’t that why you put an offer in? So you could buy the house? My final word of advice to a buyer is talk to your realtor. I mean really talk to them. Real estate is a fast paced game. One minute a house is for sale, the next minute it’s sold. It can be high pressure. Discuss your strategy with your realtor before putting in an offer. In fact discuss your strategy before you even look at one house together. Make sure that you are both on the same page. If you feel like your realtor might pressure you to buy something out of your price range, or they aren’t putting forth an honest effort to work in your best interest, then find a realtor who will do the job you need them to do.

Okay sellers now it is your turn…

Much like buyers the first thing you need to do when you start to think about selling is talk to your bank. How much do you still owe on your mortgage? Will there be any penalties incurred for selling before a certain number of years? Discuss with them what will happen if you find a home you love and want to offer on but your house hasn’t sold yet. Will you still qualify for a mortgage? Make sure that your financial needs are covered before you list your property.

Did you put a new roof on your house or re do the plumbing? Prove it. Keep all warranties, work orders, permits and receipts to pass on to the next owner and to prove that this work actually did happen. It’s easy to say plumbing was updated through out the entire house because no one can see through the walls. Buyers want assurance that renovations were done by a professional and that if something goes wrong they have a warranty, or at least the name of the company that did the work so they can remedy the situation.

Finally, the price of your home. Every seller has a number in mind when it comes to the value of their home. For the most part the value is subjective, meaning it has value to the seller but not necessarily a buyer. If you put a pool in for twenty thousand dollars you may feel that your house is now worth twenty thousand more then it would be without the pool. This might not be the case. Your house is only worth what a buyer is willing to pay for it.

This is where a realtor comes in. They can give you an objective view of your home. They have information on what has listed in your area, and what has sold. What market trends are like  and how quickly homes in your area are selling. Listen to your realtor. They aren’t there to insult you by telling you a number that might be lower then what you thought it should be. You might think your home should list for a million dollars, but if similar houses in the area are selling at eight hundred thousand then there is a good chance that your house will be on the market for a very long time.

I hope these tips will prove helpful for anyone that is thinking of buying or selling real estate. While there is a lot of money and legality  involved in these transactions it really doesn’t have to be a stressful,l nail biting experience as it is portrayed on television. It should be fun. It should be exciting, and most importantly it should be about you getting the home of your dreams.



Fixing the glitch

I have been informed that the link to Cooking for keeps did not work so no one has been able to partake in  “the best spaghetti and meatballs there ever was”. I have posted the recipe below. Enjoy!!!

My Mother’s Spaghetti and Meatballs aka The Best Spaghetti and Meatballs in the World
Author: Nicole-Cooking for Keeps
Serves: 4-6
  • Meatballs:
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 Italian sausage links, removed from casing
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup saltine cracker crumbs (crushed by hand)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ onion, finely diced
  • ½ onion, grated
  • 1 large garlic clove, grated
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan
  • Sauce:
  • ½ cup red wine
  • ½ green pepper sliced thin
  • ½ onion sliced thin
  • 1 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 2 cans water, plus more if needed (tomato paste can)
  • ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  1. Using your hands combine, ground beef, egg, cracker crumbs, salt, black pepper, Italian seasoning, diced onion, grated onion, garlic and Parmesan. Form into 9-10 meatballs. In a large skillet, heat ⅛ – ¼ cup olive over a medium-high heat. Brown meatballs on all sides, remove from skillet.
  2. Add in sliced onion and pepper, cook for two to three minutes. De glaze pan with red wine, scraping up brown bits as you go. Add in water, Italian seasoning, sugar, salt and garlic powder. Stir. Add meatballs back into the sauce and simmer for 30 minutes, until meatballs are cooked through and sauce is thickened. If needed add more water. Season with salt, pepper and sugar.
  3. While the sauce is simmering bring a large stock pot of water to a boil. Add a small handful of kosher salt. Cook spaghetti until al dente.
  4. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.


In need of some comfort

Comfort food that is. Yesterday was a cloudy cold day. I needed comfort food and I needed it real bad. I made brownies but that didn’t hit the spot. So I decided spaghetti and meatballs was the way to go. I have always made my own sauce and meatballs but I have grown bored with the recipe and needed something new.  Recently I found a recipe on Pinterest titled “The best spaghetti and meatballs there ever was”. That is a hefty claim. I need to know if this was true so my little helper Callum and I got to work.



His help lasted all of five seconds. He didn’t enjoy the feeling of the mushy meat.

I did make a few changes to the recipe

The recipe called for grated and finely diced onions. I decided to just grate them all. My eyes start to water as soon as I go near an onion so I wasn’t going to spend more time then necessary chopping and dicing and grating. Into the food processor they went with the grating blade.  I found the grated onions were more easily concealed in the meatballs as well as the sauce which worked out well because I live with some finicky people!

I also added one extra sausage for more flavour.

The recipe says you will yield 9-10 meatballs. Those must be enormous! I used a table spoon to scoop and shape them and I ended up with 26.


The next step is to brown the meatballs on all sides. This takes a few minutes so rather then watch meat cook I decided to have a glass of wine to pass the time.


This Baco Noir from Henry of Pelham is my absolute favourite!


This sauce could not be any easier to make! Add thinly sliced peppers and grated onion, water, some spices, a little red wine and some tomato paste and you’re done. Let it simmer with the meatballs and in 30 minutes dinner is on the table.


Was it the best spaghetti and meatballs I have ever had? YES! The sauce is rich and flavourful. The meatballs were moist and juicy. Even Sofie liked them and she doesn’t like anything with flavour.  Aside from the deliciousness my favourite part was that from start to finish it took less then an hour and that it was a one pot meal. I will definitely be making these again.

You can find the delicious recipe here www.cookingforkeeps.com



Bon Appétit!




Starting over

There a only a few times of year when I feel like it is time for a fresh start. Spring is an obvious one. The trees are green,  flowers are blooming and we can finally leave the house without feeling like we might get frost bite.

For me back to school time is synonymous with starting over. It always has been. New pencils and erasers. New teachers. You felt like this was going to be the best year ever. Some years it was, some years not so much.

The kids went back to school last week and I found myself feeling a bit confused as to how I should spend my time. For the last two months I have been a stay at home mom. With Chris being on the road a lot this summer I didn’t take on any new clients so I could be there for the kids. Now I need to get back into the swing of things. I started with an update to my webpage. It was so sad an outdated. I feel like it has a fresher feel to it now. Check it out and tell me what you think…

Sarah McKie Realtor

Second, I started a Pinterest account that is real estate related.  I am totally addicted to Pinterest so I figured combining the two would be a great thing. I have boards dedicated to listings within the Coldwell Banker Momentum Brokerage, as well as useful tips for buyers and sellers. Did you know that Pinterest has 70 million users and women make up 80% of the pinners?  That’s a lot of potential clients that I can be reaching in Pinterest land.

As a bonus to my lovely readers, if you start to follow me (for the month of September only) on Pinterest you will automatically be entered into a  draw for a $25 gift card to Starbucks.

Stay tuned for October’s contest!

Finally, I started the blog again. I have been missing in action for quite a while. My last post was for a Christmas wreath! There is no good excuse for why I haven’t been able to sit down and write every day. For some reason my mind was totally blocked and I felt like I didn’t have anything to say. Now I have a blogging schedule so there will be regular posts. Yeah!

For regular updates follow me on twitter @sarahdavidmckie


What to expect this month…

Making a harvest table

Fall décor

Fall crafts with the kids

and much more!