COMING SOON: Krisztina’s 1 Minute Home Tips

THE VIEW FROM OAK PARK

The Official Krisztina Blogsite

You’ve all been asking: what’s my next video series? I’m so thrilled that my Real Estate 411 Series continues to get views and continues to inform would-be home buyers and sellers. Then, as most of you know, I report monthly on the Oakville housing numbers with The State of Real Estate in Oakville. And for the locals in my own ‘hood, I have The Oak Park Report which highlights community events. But now I’m embarking on a new series, KRISZTINA’S 1 MINUTE HOME TIPS. I wanted the ability to cover a lot of pertinent topics with useful and actionable information, so I hope you will all take away something from these videos.

We’re currently shooting, with plans to launch on air in early July. No surprise, we’re going to start with the summer topics like Creating Your Outdoor Room, Small Backyard Suggestions, Sprucing Up Outdoors on a Budget, Outdoor Lighting, Outdoor Decorating vs. Landscaping, Pools, Resale of Homes with Pools, The Front Porch Room, Creating Outdoor Privacy and Patio Materials. I’m planning on packing a lot into 60 seconds, which means I’m going to have to be brief and to the point. (What!? – No long explanations? Uh Oh!!!) We’ll also provide you with handy tip flashes and lots of video examples.

Come Fall, we’ll be touching on Real Estate subjects like Shopping For a Mortgage, How Do You Know If Your Real Estate Agent is Working Hard For You?, Advertising, Interviewing Real Estate Agents and also Resale subjects like De-Personalizing Your Space For Selling, Basement Do’s and Don’ts, Trends vs. Resale and so much more.

I’m already hard at work getting my Home Tips just right before I go in front of the camera. I hope this series provides a little something for everyone. And last but not least, since this video series is meant for you, the viewer – if there are any topics you’d specifically like me to cover, PLEASE let me know. And if you have any great home tips (on any subject!!) please send them in to me. Okay, that’s it – now go outside and enjoy this beautiful summer weather!!

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Kitchen Reno Do’s and Don’ts

THE VIEW FROM OAK PARK

The Official Krisztina Blogsite

As a Real Estate Agent, I know that the 2 most important rooms in the house that will increase property value are the kitchen and bathroom (this is applicable to both Oakville real estate and other markets!). A great kitchen is especially important if your home is designed like mine – with the kitchen and family room combined. With that in mind, I decided my own kitchen needed an upgrade with the simple goal of a prettier, more functional kitchen that would help increase my home’s value when I’m ready for resale. That’s the #1 key – Know your home’s value – don’t over-invest or over-improve!! I had lots of ideas, but I needed help. At first I interviewed solely Kitchen Designers, and I had a Decorator on board, but going forward, I realized this was impractical and I switched to a General Contractor with kitchen experience. It was nice not to have any pressure to hire separate contractors and to have 1 go-to guy for all my questions and concerns. He was able to deal with cutting down my bulkhead, removing/installing cabinets, overseeing the cabinet maker, helping me with product and design decisions as well as handling all the electrical and plumbing.

Now here’s my 5 MUST HAVE’s…

1. Have exact plans drawn up – fixes on paper are cheaper than in real life.

2. Place appliances in a triangle for best functionality.

3. Make all space usable – My goal was to increase my cupboard space. To do this, I moved my microwave to over the range. I had slim pullout spice cabinets put in beside the stove. I had a 2-piece foldout corner cabinet cupboard installed. And I reduced my bulkhead and put in taller cabinets.

4. Proper lighting is key – over-the-counter for cooking and multiple ceiling potlights on dimmer for entertaining.

5. Countertop material that will wear well and clean well. (Avoid pitted materials)

And my DO’s…

1. Hire someone to oversee the entire project.

2. Interview more than 1 person, check references and licenses.

3. Have all permits.

4. Stay involved.

5. Pay attention to the small details. (These are the things that will bother you in the end.)

And my DON’Ts…

1. Don’t choose the cheapest solution – it may take away from your overall aesthetic and you’ll regret it in the end.

2. Don’t go trendy – it will not only affect resale, but you may tire of it before then.

3. Don’t give up your own vision – this is ultimately your kitchen, you have to live with it…don’t get talked into something you’ll regret.

4. Don’t overspend. Create a budget with your Contractor and stick to it. In the end, I went for some upgrades above and beyond because I knew I wanted to stay in this home for 3 more years, but I fought for deals.

5. Don’t listen to everyone’s personal opinion…you will GO CRAZY!! Listen to your instincts, your spouse (sometimes!) and your Contractor!

And just a reminder, for Best Resale, stick to natural tones and creams. And if you’re leaving existing elements (I left my tiles and appliances), it is crucial to see colour samples in situ (such as cabinetry) to make sure they work with what you’re keeping. (I had to change my cabinet colour choice, because the tone looked terrible with my tiles – but now it flows so well, people think I changed the tile as well!!)

And in the end – I LOVE MY KITCHEN. Check it out on the video below!!

Communication…Blah Blah Blah!!

THE VIEW FROM OAK PARK

The Official Krisztina Blogsite

We have to communicate better. Good communication builds better relationships. What we have here is a failure to communicate. I’m sick of it! It’s all become an overused buzz phrase. Easy to say. Hard to follow through with. I think what we all have to do is listen a little better. Hearing the other person’s words (be it husband, wife, parent, child, teacher, student…Real Estate Agent, Client…) is NOT THE SAME as listening. And comprehending. And digesting. And responding. Oh – and my favourite – actually remembering the conversation and its implications! We’ve all been there. Personally and professionally. I admit to being guilty of it. A few years back I made a personal goal to improve my listening skills. (Google ‘Listen’ and ‘Books’ and you’d be surprised!) And every day, I try to put those skills into practice…now, if I could only do the same for all my Clients out there! (Oh, c’mon, don’t look so shocked. If you know anything about me, you know I’ve told them already! …So they know who they are!)

You put a lot of thought into choosing your Real Estate Agent and you are hiring them as an expert, so my advice to anyone is to try to listen to what your Agent suggests – it might be pricing, timing, improvements or staging – because it is our job to be fully educated on the housing market and your neighbourhood real estate trends. Nothing frustrates me more than having a Client impede me from doing the best job I can for them! We’re a team, and it’s my job to get you the best price for your home. If we tell you delays in upgrades or renos will cost you thousands of dollars because the market is slowing, we need you to listen and act. And for buyers, you need to put your faith and trust in our experience. We don’t want you to lose the house of your dreams because you believe it will still be on the market in a few weeks. Nevertheless, we’ll stick by you until the deal is complete. And if things get tough, please don’t forget key conversations and finger point – that won’t solve any problems. I always stand by what I’ve said, and unfortunately I’ve learned to save the streams of emails and text messages just in case. That being said, let me emphasize that I do this only as a ‘just in case’ scenario. Nothing gives me greater pleasure in this job than connecting sellers with buyers and buyers with new homes. It’s the best feeling in the world to have a happy Client and it’s why I continue to enjoy this job!! And now I’ll leave you with a few words of wisdom to think about, from George Bernard Shaw: “The problem with communication is the illusion that it’s been accomplished.”