How To Choose A Paint Colour

While many people are attracted to bright colors, Homeowners are often most concerned with making sure the palette in their home feels “livable.” After all, a color you love in a stunning photo may not be a color you will love to see on your walls every day. Here are some tips for choosing a paint color you’ll enjoy in real life.

Don’t Buy Paint On The Spot

It’s important when you begin the process of selecting a paint color, to start with a wide palette of options.

When you go to a paint store, don’t worry about choosing the best possible color while you’re in the shop. Your goal should be to arm yourself with a variety of options so you can make the best possible choice later. This usually means pulling more swatches than you think you need — and even colors you don’t think you will want.

Choosing subtle colors, as opposed to bold and saturated hues, can be the trickiest, as the more subdued the tones in the paint, the harder they will be to see in a paint chip. For this reason it is wise to grab some paint chips that are similar to the color you think you want, but a bit off. Grab the paint chip that appeals to you at first glance, but also take two swatches on either side of it for variety.

When you look at these paint chips again at home, you may find that one you didn’t think you liked is actually the right one for your home.

Bring Your Own Swatch

When you go to the paint store, don’t go empty-handed. Bringing a piece of art or fabric as color inspiration can be useful, but something even simpler can help you see colors correctly: a white sheet of paper.

In the store, a pale color may look virtually white, but in your home it will likely be contrasted by some bright white elements such as the ceiling, trim or even something as simple as a switch plate or lampshade, rendering the color much more noticeable.

Bringing something pure white — and also pure black if you have it — will give you something to contrast against the paint swatches in the store to help you see the undertones more clearly.

For example, a “light” blue may seem lighter than the other blue shades on the same paint chip, but compared with a stark white it might suddenly look a lot more saturated.

It can also help to use another design element of the room as color inspiration. It’s usually recommended to choose colors that are a bit lighter or toned down from the true hues in the inspiration piece, lest they be too saturated for a full wall.

Try Some Space Experiments

Once you’ve taken many paint swatches home, that is when you can truly decide which colors will work. As you may know, colors can look quite different in your real-life lighting than in the bright fluorescent lighting of a store.

It’s also important to consider that colors will look different relative to other hues in the room, different positions (on a wall versus on the ceiling, for example) and at different times of the day.

Tape paint chips to the wall where they will be applied, and view them during the time of day you will be in the room the most. For example, in the morning or evening for your bedroom. Take your time to do this with individual color swatches on their own, so each color swatch isn’t visually competing with a rainbow of other options.

Go Big And Go Home

Another huge factor that can change how you perceive a paint color is the size of the swatch. No matter how carefully you look at it, a tiny paint store swatch will never fully show you what a color will look like on a full wall. For this reason, designers will often apply a large stroke of paint directly to the wall to see how it will look in real life.

This is an effective technique for helping to compare a shortlist of colors once you’ve narrowed down your selection. It can also help you see how a single shade looks in different finishes if you’re debating between, say, eggshell or matte.

If you don’t want to have to live with messy walls for a while, you can also order large-format paint samples from many companies. It will cost you about $10 to $15 per “memo” swatch, but it can save you a lot of money in wasted paint if it means you don’t end up with the wrong color.

Take Your Time

To some, painting a room, and then painting it again later to change the shade, isn’t a big deal. After all, paint is one of the relatively easier elements of a space to fix if you make a mistake.

For others, the effort and expense of repainting is a major pain. If this is you, it’s worth taking the time beforehand to really sit with a color option before taking the plunge. The more time you take to sit with the choice, the less likely you are to get swept up in a passing fad or sudden impulse.

Do you love a color right now because it’s a true favorite, or is it just a passing infatuation? Looking back at older saved photos will help you see what hues you’ve truly gravitated toward for the long haul.

If you think you’ve settled on a favorite shade, keep a copy of the paint chip with you as go about your life. When you find yourself in a friend’s home, a cozy restaurant or another inspiring space, hold the paint chip up to nearby surfaces to see if it seems lighter or darker, brighter or more muted than colors you’re drawn to.

Make A Commitment

Once you’ve selected and purchased a paint color, it’s time to commit. Paint will look quite different during the painting process, and it is very important not to judge the color until it has been properly applied in the necessary number of coats — at least two, but often three or more, depending on the product and shade.

It’s truly wisest not to judge the color at all until at least the next day, and to give yourself some time to adjust to the change in your space before jumping to any conclusions.

This is especially true with darker shades, which will visually shrink the space in a way you will need a little time to get used to.

Get A Second Opinion

Still worried you won’t be able to live with your choice? Having a design professional come to your home for a color consultation can give you a lot of insight, especially because they will typically come armed with paint-swatch decks in every color, bringing the entire paint store to you.

Another option is to choose a time-tested signature color of one of your favorite designers. While a color shown in a single photo may look different in real life, if you try a designer’s go-to hue, you can rest assured that this color looks great in many spaces.

Don’t Think About It

Any artist will tell you that the more you stare at something, the harder it becomes to truly see it. Sometimes the best thing you can do while trying to choose a color is to take a break for several days and come back to your options with a fresh perspective.

When you come back, look at your selections and go with your gut. Ultimately, if you really love a color — light, dark, soft or bright — it will feel livable, so there’s no reason to choose any hue but the one that feels right to you


What You Should Know Before Signing A Lease Agreement

COVID-19 has flipped the Canadian rental market on its head. Cities have seen skyrocketing downtown rental listings and declining prices, making it an ideal market for renters.

Despite these unusual circumstances, prospective tenants can benefit from a wider variety of options on the market. Increased levels of inventory, coupled with dropping prices, have shifted the market’s balance in favour of renters, providing them with more listings to choose from at discounted prices. Like with resale transactions, both landlords and tenants can recruit the support of a Realtor to help them through the rental process. 

If you’re on the hunt for a new apartment, or just want to get a better understanding of leasing terminology here are five essential terms everyone should know before signing a rental agreement. 

*Note some leasing terminology or rules vary by province. 

Lease Term

A lease term, referred to as the term of the tenancy agreement, is the duration (how long) the lease agreement is in effect.

A fixed-term tenancy requires the tenancy start and end on a specific date outlined in the agreement. The tenant is not required to move out at the end of the lease term or renew their agreement. Instead, they may choose to live in the apartment on a month-to-month basis if their agreement is on a fixed-term, or agree to enter into a new agreement altogether with the landlord. 

Periodic tenancies also exist, where the agreement has a start date but no end date until a tenancy termination is provided.

Tenancy Termination

If a tenant wishes to terminate and leave their lease agreement, they can provide notice to end tenancy. This notice is often required to be served in writing many weeks before the tenant intends to move out, or their fixed-term lease is expected to end. In British Columbia, tenants can give 30 days’ notice to vacate; while in Toronto it is 60 days.


In cases where the tenant wishes to leave their tenancy before the end of the fixed-term agreement, there are a couple of options. 

If, for whatever reason, you need to leave early, then subletting is essentially your only real, viable, legal option. Your other option, and it’ll be entirely at the say so of the landlord, is to speak to the landlord and see if you can mutually agree to end the lease early.


In the event a tenant wants to move out of their rental unit temporarily, but not terminate the tenancy agreement, they may propose enlisting a sublet to take over the unit. 

A sublet, or sub-tenant, lives in the tenanted unit until a specified date, but this does not change the existing lease conditions between the landlord and tenant. While the tenant recruits and chooses the sublet, the landlord gives the final approval on the sublet to ensure they are suitable.

You should try to include a condition, in the lease, that says you have the right to sublet, but the landlord has the ultimate right to approve that person or reject that person. The landlord won’t help you find somebody to sublet your property, but they do need to approve that person prior to occupancy.


A deposit is an amount of money put forward as an installment on the lease agreement, and used as future payment for a portion of the lease. In some cases, a lease agreement may contain other types of refundable deposits. Deposit amounts and rules are different in each province. 

In British Columbia neither a lease’s security deposit and pet damage deposit can exceed one-half of the monthly rent. 

Security and damage deposits are not legal in Ontario, but refundable key deposits are. Landlords must also pay interest on the deposit to the tenant every year. A REALTOR® can help tenants and landlords to determine which provincial deposits are appropriate in their lease. 

For example, key deposits have to be the replacement cost, they can’t be some arbitrary number. So the actual replacement cost for the key, can be requested by the landlord.

In Good Repair

Unlike resale agreements, leases do not provide an inspection clause that covers the property’s physical condition. However, leases do set the groundwork for the responsibilities of the landlord and the tenant to keep the property in good repair; a standard that addresses the maintenance and repairs the unit requires. 

The lease agreement can specify the procedure for when appliances break down, or list any work requested to be completed prior to the tenant’s occupancy.

Before signing make sure that everything you want done, or want, make sure, it is instituted into the agreement. If work needs to be done on the property, it has to be specific and it has to have a time frame.

If you’re browsing for your next rental apartment, or are looking to get your residential or commercial rental listing to a large audience of potential tenant, contact me and I can help you through the process.


Important Questions To Ask Before Buying

Most of us are naturally inclined to purchase a house based on a pure gut and heart reaction. “It feels like home.” Right? However, finding that “feeling” can be an exercise in patience and frustration, just like dating. Here are 10 questions that can help guide you in finding your ideal home match.

Are You Low Maintenance?

Take a look at a potential house and its property. Are the gardens filled with perennials? How big is the lawn? What’s the roof warranty? A metal roof can last up to 50 years while asphalt shingles will need to be replaced every 10 to 20 years in areas that experience heavy snowfall and rain. Is the house constructed with a resilient material like Hardie board? Insects, weather and curious woodpeckers can make quick work of a log or wood home and require ongoing maintenance. 

 Are You Quiet?

Spend some quality time at the house and observe traffic at different periods of the day. Do the neighbours have a barking dog or young children who love their trampoline? Are you close to a firehall where sirens will be a constant soundtrack? Are there train tracks nearby? Are you on a major bus route? At an intersection? Beside a restaurant with outdoor dining? Get to know the neighbourhood and everything nearby.

Are You Warm?

While gas fireplaces are instant and convenient, they can also be inefficient depending on their age and BTU rating. Wood-burning fireplaces will require the care of a chimney sweep and a little lumberjack labour but are undeniably romantic. Pellet stoves have a high combustion and provide one of the cleanest burning fuel options but can pose an issue if you lose power (unless you have a battery back-up) as they still rely on electricity.

Propane and electric heat (baseboards, forced-air furnace) have their pros and cons with delivery fees and time-of-use rates. Boiler systems are commonplace in older homes but new technology has modernized the traditional radiator’s appearance and efficiency.

And don’t forget about heat loss —are the windows new? Do they need to be replaced? The R-value of a house’s windows and insulation can make for a cozy night or give you the shivers.

Are You Flexible? Willing To Grow?

If your family is planning to grow (dog, child or in-law suite?), will the house permit expansion? Is there an unfinished basement? Is it possible to add another bathroom? A detached garage? Main floor laundry? Will there be space for the art studio or kitchen island you’ve always dreamed of?

Are You Outdoorsy?

Is the house located near trails? Dog parks? What exposure does the house have? North-facing windows can pose a challenge, but there are certain plants that will thrive. Will you see the sun rise or set? Is there enough storage or space for a shed, deck and/or hot tub? Are the trees surrounding the house healthy?

Are You Financially Sound?

Is the house in a desirable location? A home in a gentrifying neighbourhood or bedroom community will likely increase in value but buying a boat access-only property or three-season cottage can hamper resale value. Consider budgeting for costs like monthly condo fees, parking, commuting, grass cutting and snow removal, septic pump outs or the cost of replacing aging appliances.

 Are You Charming?

What’s the story behind the house? If it’s a heritage home, visit your local city hall to investigate the archives. A growing interest in schoolhouse and church conversions has helped preserve history while providing a reliable rental income for the savvy entrepreneur.

Are You A People Person?

Does the house realistically meet your entertainment requirements? Is there a room for the kiddos and their PlayStation? Will the dining table seat the entire family? Is there space to put in a pool? Pool table? How many guest bedrooms?

Are You Stable?

The foundation is where everything began. If you’re considering an older home, invest in a structural engineer for the house inspection. Be aware of erosion and high-water levels with lakefront properties. Check basements and ceilings for signs of leaks and mould and chimneys for integrity (and bats!).

Are You Willing To Change?

While a house may appear 100% perfect after the first starry-eyed visit, there will be inevitable changes that you’ll want to make. Are they possible? What can you sacrifice? What are your non-negotiables? Are they cosmetic changes (paint, lighting) or beyond-the-budget renovations?


Happy Year Of The Ox

Lunar New Year or as many of us know it Chinese New Years falls on Friday February 12th, this year. 

Lunar New Years is celebrated throughout the world and can last for weeks. 2021 is the Year of the Ox. The Ox is a symbol of hardwork, persistence and honesty. 

There are 12 Zodiac signs each year has its own animal sign: Rooster, Dog, Pig, Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, and Monkey.

Red is the main colour of this holiday, as it is believed to be a lucky (auspicious) colour. Red lanterns, decorations of Oxen and red envelops filled with money are commonly seen.

On New Year’s Eve, families traditionally gather to celebrate the new year. First, homes are thoroughly cleaned to sweep away bad luck and to welcome good luck. At midnight  fireworks are usually lit at midnight. Festivals that include parades with dragon and lion dances are seen in neighbourhoods and families pay homage to the gods and their ancestors. Children receive money in red envelopes and gifts are exchanged between family members.

However, this year will be different due to the pandemic. Families are being asked not to travel to see extended family. There will be no parades or lion dances or the Lantern Festival.

Hopefully the year of the Ox will bring an end to the pandemic with vaccines being administered.

So althought you cannot meet your family and have the usual Lunar New Year Celebrations.

Xin Nian Kuai Le!

(New Year Happiness!) 


Gong Xi Fa Cai!

(Happiness and Prosperity!)


De-Cluttering Plan For The Year

With an entire new year is ahead of you, decluttering your home may not seem so hard. But after January, when that new year energy begins to fade, the prospect of tackling big projects tends to be overwhelming.

Try this month-by-month guide for clearing the clutter from each room of your house. Feel free to reorganize this schedule as you see fit.

No matter what, by the end of the year, your home should be feeling more spacious and you will be feeling more capable of maintaining a clutter-free space.

Getting Started: 

Turbocharge Your Decluttering

If you’re feeling inspired and motivated by the new year, take advantage of that energy and spend a few weekends clearing clutter throughout the house. Making noticeable headway will help motivate you to keep up the decluttering effort in the coming months. Try to get the other members of your household onboard — but if they are not interested, don’t try to force it. Hopefully they will see the positive changes happening around the house and help you!

Create a Habit: 

Keep an empty reusable bin in a closet, and use it to put in items you plan to give away.


Kitchen and Pantry 

Give yourself a fresh start for the new year with a clean kitchen, decluttered cabinets and a healthy pantry and fridge.

*  Toss worn dish towels or cut them up to make rags

*  Sell or give away specialty small appliances and tools you

    seldom or never use

*  Recycle or toss freebie cups and Tupperware containers

    without lids

*  Toss expired food and spices

*  Take stock of cookware and dishes; give away or sell pieces 

    you do not need

Creat a Habit: 

Clean out the pantry and fridge each week before shopping.


Home Office — Digital Documents and Papers

Get a jump-start on tax time by getting your files (paper and digital) in order.

*  Sort through random stacks of paper; file, shred or recycle everything

*  Streamline your files, shredding any documents you no longer need

*  Use one calendar to keep track of all events

*  Switch to paperless bills and statements if possible

*  Clean out computer files and back up everything, using cloud-based storage and an         external drive

Creat a Habit: 

Sort your mail at the door, tossing junk immediately into a recycling bin.


Clothes and accessories 

The seasonal transition is a good time to sort through clothing. Sort through winter clothes before storing, and pare back spring and summer clothes as you begin to wear them.

*  Donate or sell clothes, shoes and accessories in good condition

*  Have winter clothes laundered or dry-cleaned before storing until next year

*  Try on all clothes for the upcoming season and give away or sell any items that do not        make you feel good

Creat a Habit: 

As soon as you wear something and notice it doesn’t fit, has a hole or doesn’t flatter you, toss it in a bag in your closet. When the bag is full, donate it.


Bath, Beauty Products and Medicine Cabinets

Give your daily routine a spring cleaning by sorting through all of those bottles and jars hiding in medicine cabinets, on counters and in drawers.

*  Toss expired makeup and skin-care items, as well as anything you do not use or like

*  Clean drawers and shelves before returning items

*  Store heat- and moisture-sensitive items (medications and some skin-care products)          away from the bathroom

Create a Habit: 

Keep a list of your favorite bath and beauty products and order them online rather than shopping in person. This helps avoid overshopping and impulse purchases.


Laundry Room, Linen Closet, Cleaning Supplies

Cleaning routines are much easier and more pleasant when the supplies you need are neat and orderly. Sheets, towels and other household linens do not last forever — go through them this month and make some space.

*  Recycle worn-out and stained towels, washcloths, sheets and tea towels at a textile            recycling center.

*  If your child has graduated a bed size, donate the old bedding to charity

*  Clean under sinks and in any cupboards where cleaning supplies are stored. Get rid of      empty containers and products you tried but did not like

Create a Habit: 

Don’t downgrade old towels and sheets to “guest” status. Only keep linens you would personally want to use — get rid of the rest. Your guests deserve better!


Family Room, Playroom, Media, Art and Schoolwork

The end of the school year is a good time to review collected artwork and school papers, and choose a small number of special pieces to save in a portfolio or document box.

*  Edit schoolwork and art from the past year

*  Gather a bag of DVDs, books and CDs to give away or sell

*  Sort through toys and games; get rid of those your family no longer enjoys, as well as        anything missing key pieces

Create a Habit: 

At the beginning of each school year, pick up a simple art portfolio. When your child brings work home, enjoy all of it for a while, but choose only a few special pieces to put in the portfolio.


Yard, Shed, Garage and Tools


Being outdoors in the summer makes this a good time to get outdoor tools and equipment in order.

*  Get rid of broken tools and those you no longer need

*  Sort through gardening supplies

*  Toss worn-out outdoor furnishings and decor

*  If you’ve been collecting items to sell, hold a yard sale this month. At the end of the           day, take unsold items to a charity donation center

Create a Habit: 

Keep everything in your garage or shed on shelving, not on the floor. This helps prevent accumulating a pileup of junk and keeps your gear cleaner.



Photos seem to be one of the most problematic items for many people to keep organized. Use the lazy days of August to sort through old photos and make books or prints from new ones.

*  Choose a few favorite photos from this year and have them framed

*  Edit digital photos and back up using a cloud service as well as an external drive

*  Make a photo album or book from recent photos

*  Sort through any bins of loose photos and put them in acid-free photo boxes or simple        albums

Create a Habit: 

Take a few extra moments to tag favorite digital photos each time you upload. Then when it’s time to print or make an album, you can go straight to your favorites.


Mudroom, Entrances and Junk Drawers

Embrace the back-to-school spirit by getting the busiest zones of your house clutter-free this month.

*  Put away stray items in entrances that belong elsewhere

*  Add extra hooks or shelves if you need them

*  Sort through junk drawers, baskets, trays and any other spots that accumulate random      junk

*  Invest in drawer organizers or a wall-mounted organizer to keep small items neat

Create a Habit: 

Do an end-of-day tidy-up of the entryway, putting shoes, coats and random items back where they belong.


Dining Room and Entertaining Supplies

With the big holidays coming up over the next few months, October is a good time to get ahead of the curve and sort out your entertaining arsenal.

*  Get rid of worn-out and stained tablecloths, placemats and napkins

*  Count your dinnerware and serving pieces and consider whether you have enough, too     much or too little for the amount you entertain

*  Get rid of decor, table linens and serving pieces that you don’t like or that no longer fit        your lifestyle

Create a Habit: 

Just like creating a wardrobe with lots of pieces that work together, think of creating an entertaining wardrobe that you can mix and match, rather than having lots of distinct sets of dishes.


Hobbies and Crafts

Get ready for holiday crafting and gift wrapping by clearing out your stash and organizing supplies this month.

*  Clean out gift-wrapping supplies, tossing empty tape dispensers, out-of-ink pens and          shreds of gift wrap and ribbon

*  Downsize your craft stash by donating spare fabric scraps, yarn, scrapbooking paper          and other materials — many organizations: schools, retirement centers etc. are happy      to accept donations of craft supplies

*  Keep works in progress together in bags, bins or boxes

Create a Habit: 

Take the time to put away your craft supplies neatly when you are done working. A messy stash makes it more likely you will buy something you already have simply because you couldn’t find it!


Holiday Items and Decor 

With so much going on around the holidays, it’s wise not to expect too much of yourself when it comes to clutter-clearing. That said, with all of the new gifts coming in, it does make sense to do some paring back to preserve balance in the house.

*  Give away holiday ornaments and decor that you did not use this year, or that you no          longer love

*  Toss broken ornaments and recycle strands of lights that no longer work

*  Exchange or give away gifts you received but know you will never use, and do not like       — don’t keep things out of guilt. The one exception to this rule may be hand-knit                 sweaters. The knitter will never forgive you; that’s just how it is.

Create a Habit: 

Tell friends and family who ask (in advance of the holidays) that you and your family would prefer gifts that are experiential or edible. Most people honestly want to give you something you will like, and are happy for the guidance.

Happy De-cluttering!

Reciprocity Logo The data relating to real estate on this website comes in part from the MLS® Reciprocity program of either the Greater Vancouver REALTORS® (GVR), the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) or the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board (CADREB). Real estate listings held by participating real estate firms are marked with the MLS® logo and detailed information about the listing includes the name of the listing agent. This representation is based in whole or part on data generated by either the GVR, the FVREB or the CADREB which assumes no responsibility for its accuracy. The materials contained on this page may not be reproduced without the express written consent of either the GVR, the FVREB or the CADREB.