Tickets booked, bags packed, house… cleaned? Sometimes, it’s the most obvious things that are the most effective in keeping your home safe while you’re away. There are a few simple things you can put into motion before heading out of town that will act as an intruder deterrent, starting with:

Clean It Up!

Now we know you haven’t even left yet, but imagine arriving home to clean floors, tidy rooms and fresh sheets. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Just a bonus to cleaning up inside and out before you leave. The real reason to mow the lawn and clean up yard tools and stray kids’ toys is because nothing tells strangers “nobody’s home” like yard debris that hasn’t moved in days and an unkempt lawn. Not to mention you’ll immediately notice if anything is amiss when you return if things are in order before you go.

Windows & Doors

You’d think this one would be obvious, but locking doors and windows isn’t something everyone remembers; especially if you’re in a ‘safe’ neighbourhood. Consider placing a blocker in the sliding door track to prevent forced entries, and deadbolts on the doors are always a good idea as extra protection.

Perimeter Check

A well-lit entryway isn’t a thief’s best friend, but it is yours. Whether on timer or not, perimeter lighting tends to make intruders shy away. Checking out the the view of your home from the street or yard is worth the extra five minutes. Can you see expensive electronics and artwork? Consider securing your most valuable belongings out of sight. Another trick is to unplug the power to your automatic garage to prevent thieves from using a universal remote and gaining access that way, and always lock the door into the garage from your home.

Make It Appear That You’re Home

Resist the urge to share those all-important vacation details on social media! Same goes for outgoing answering machine messages broadcasting no one’s home. They’re a virtual “welcome” sign to criminals to break in. Alert neighbourhood watch by entrusting a neighbour you know to keep your stoop clear of newspapers and pick up the mail. If your trip happens to coincide with trash day, have them put out and pick up the containers again; left out too long, and it’s a dead giveaway no one is home. You can also install timers for indoor lights, radios, and televisions.


Whether a few days or a few weeks, the same rules apply. The more you can prep beforehand to make it seem like someone’s home, the better chances you have of returning to your home the same way you left it. Safety first!


house, landscaped yard

Curb appeal is one of those real estate catch phrases that does, in fact, have some substance to it. Appearance may be the first step in getting potential buyers through your front door. With crisp air and rainier days descending on Vancouver, keeping up those appearances can be difficult.

The first and most important step in winterizing your lawn is knowing if you have cool-season grass or warm-season grass. Cool season grasses will need a winterizing fertilizer that’s higher in potassium to fortify roots in time for cooler temperatures while warm season grasses go dormant in the winter and therefore would have required an earlier dose of fertilizer. Your best bet in deciding how to proceed is taking a soil test for acidity levels as well as checking with your local greenhouse as to what type of lawn you have.

Don’t ditch the rake just yet: giving the lawn a good once-over will remove the last layer of dead turfgrass tissue otherwise known as “thatch”, and allow all-important water and nutrients (and possibly your fertilizer) to reach the grassroots. Raking leaves does this double-duty, while using a leaf-blower may de-clutter your yard, it won’t get down to the nitty-gritty.

Lastly, remove any weeds, cover plant beds with insulating topsoil or burlap, and repot small plants indoors. If you haven’t already, blowing out the irrigation system and removing debris from drains will keep things moving smoothly through the winter, as well as prevent your pipes from freezing.

Gardening may not be your forte, but everyone enjoys a well-groomed one to look at; whether they’re buying or selling. Consult with your local garden center on maintenance crews for hire, or share here if you’ve had a good experience with one.



This is a question I get from most homeowners that are considering the sale of their home or investment property. For homeowners that have a nicely furnished home the Staging is typically not required. It is a proven fact that a properly furnished home will sell faster and for a higher price than a vacant home and or one that has furnishings that are old, tired and or do not fit the space well. 

There are some cases when a vacant or older home probably does not require staging. Those being homes that are sold for Land value and there is a high probability that the property will be sold as a Building lot. 

I also had an instance recently where a homeowner had a beautifully built new home but there were key rooms that had no furniture. We suggested the client call in the Staging Co and for about $5000 have the vacant rooms furnished to help for the sale. Remember, its really tough to take appealing photos of vacant rooms. This client decided not to spend the $5000 and instead spend about $25,000 buying furniture for the vacant rooms. It’s really a personal decision. The advantage with Staging is the convenience and speed to which the home can be furnished for sale. We can usually arrange to have a home staged within 1 week of the client making the initial call to the Staging Co. Should you decide to go out and purchase the furniture and accessories yourself this can take a lot of time and rarely do stores keep furniture in stock. You can typically wait weeks or months for specific furnishings to arrive once they are ordered. This is not ideal when you want your home listed within a few weeks.

Part of our service when listing your home for sale is to provide such advice on Staging . The key is to bring your home to the market so that it attracts the maximum number of buyers and ultimately achieving the highest price. A poorly furnished home can cost you a lot more than the cost of staging. Most buyers do not have the ability to visualize so we as realtors want to make sure your home shows the best it can. 

Happy Selling! 


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.