Thursday, 23 May 2019

Top 10 Must-Know Open House Safety Tips to Secure Your Home

1. Use Security Cameras as Your Guard

Installing security systems for open house is a practical safety tip to track how many people come to your home, and prevent open house thefts.
If you unfortunately fall into the victim of open house thefts or your home is damaged during house showing, the security cameras can capture the criminals and you will know who is responsible for the home thefts/damage during a house showing. 
And to take full advantage of the open house security cameras, where to place the security cameras is also a very important aspect.
The entrances and exits of your open house, the locations where your valuable items are hidden are all critical places that should be monitored.
 Vancouver Realtor Carmen Leal

2. Find a Trustworthy Agent/Security Guard or More

Finding a licensed and reliable agent is a top open house safety tips for sellers like you to guarantee the real estate open house security.
To find a reliable agent and guarantee your real estate open house security, you can get recommendations from friends and family members who have bought or sold their properties recently.

If your house has a large area or has more than one floor, you can ask your agent to bring an assistant for your open house.
It is also a practical way to protect your home during an open house — to hire a security guard for a house viewing if you want double insurance. You could have the guard dressed in plain clothes to keep visitors comfortable and your home safe at the same time.

3. Put Away All Your Valuables, Photos & Prescription Drugs

Most people are not noble enough to resist the great temptations lying before their eyes, especially during an open house where take-away is a cinch without being noticed.
Below are the helpful open house safety tips to increase the real estate open house security.
  • Remove anything tempting and portable from plain sight and store them in safes, especially the cash, medicines, jewels, wine, electronics and heirlooms.
  • Don’t hide anything in your top dresser drawer (a go-to spot for thieves).
  • Bills, checks, bank statements, passports and ID cards should be secured in avoidance of identity thefts.
  • Put away your family photos that would leak your personal information.
  • Make sure you lock all doors except for the primary entrance where visitors will be entering.
  • Don’t leave your spare keys around your open house because they can be easily nabbed by a potential burglar.

 Vancouver Realtor Carmen Leal

4. Seek Help from Neighbours

If there is a retired person close by or a stay-at-home parent in your neighbourhood, asking them to keep tabs on your home is also a practical open house safety tip.
Your neighbours can come to your open house as interested buyers and look out for those people that seem to give the property more than passing interest.
In this way, they can help protect your home during an open house and report any suspected people to the Realtor.

5. Insist on Strict Entry Conditions

One of the best ways to protect your home during an open house is to have strict entry conditions.
You can talk with your Realtor in advance and ask all visitors to show photo ID to gain entry, as well as offering the agent the usual name and phone number, which will give additional pause to potential thieves or scouts who want to case the house and come back later.
In virtue of this open house safety tip, you will better know how many people enter your home and how to track them if there is a suspicion of theft.

6. Limit Access to Your Home

Limiting the number of the entrances to your home is also an effective open house safety tip to enhance the house showing security.
Make sure you only leave the main entrance open and lock up all the doors before the open house.
In this way, it will help your agent record who’s entering or leaving and host a successful open house viewing.

7. Make Sure Your Home Is Insured

Even you’re already well prepared for an open house, that doesn’t mean you are immune from possible thefts.
So you can employ this proactive open house safety tip to have a homeowner’s insurance policy for damage, theft and injury on the insured property.
Remember to record all your valuables (pictures and videos are even better) before the house showing, then you can offer the essential evidence when necessary.

8. Host an Open House In the Daytime

It’s also an important open house safety tips to host the house showing during the daytime.
If your agent need to do it after dark, make sure your house are well-lighted and all the curtains or blinds are closed.

9. Take Your Pets Out

If the buyers or agents are attacked by your pet during the house showing, you will take the consequence as the pet owner.
To prevent dog bites and injuries to your pets, it is a feasible open house safety tip to take your pets out during a house showing.

10. Check Your House After an Open House

Besides, some careless visitors might forget to turn off the tap in your bathroom or kitchen after they leave. By going through your home after an open house, you can rest assured that your home is safe after the house showing.

Final Thought
While you prepare your home to look its best for an open house or home viewing, don’t forget to apply these open house security tips to protect your home. After all, it is always better to be safe than sorry. 


Are you interested in selling or buying your home in the next few months? Work with award winning realtor, Carmen Leal and her team that specialize in Real Estate Vancouver and have qualified Buyers that are looking for a home in your area!   604.218.4846 &

                                                                 This communication is not intended to induce breach of existing listing agreement.

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

8 Tips for Decorating With Mirrors

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest house of all? Mirrors are a sure way to maximize style in any room, contributing visual dimension and elegance while reflecting light and making a space look larger.
As an interior designer, I know how a well-placed mirror can bring a room from “meh” to “wow.” Before you start hanging mirrors throughout your home, here's what you need to know: 

1. Reflect the light

I recommend trying to hang mirrors across from a window, if possible, as this reflects light and brightens up a space. Keep in mind anything a mirror faces—whether it be a window, wall or architectural element—will draw the eye and give it more importance.

2. Don't be afraid to go big

Large mirrors add depth, making a room feel bigger than it is. In a small room, I recommend leaning a mirror at the end of a hallway or against a wall. Bigger mirrors do tend to be more expensive, so don't be afraid to use smaller mirrors as units, which you can group together to create the same effect.

3. Consider a gallery wall

Never underestimate the power of grouping. Use mirrors as a gallery wall to add an artistic twist to your home. Distressed mirrors have recently made a comeback and look beautiful covering an entire wall behind a bathtub or in an entryway.

4. Make it a focal point

Another great option is to to make your mirror prominent with a simple, sophisticated placement. Some great spots include above a dining room buffet or above a mantel, framed with candles or a pair of sconces on either side to add even more light.

5. Pay careful attention to placement

This is the most crucial aspect for successfully decorating with mirrors. Unlike art, which is roughly hung at slightly above eye level, mirrors should be hung at a level which allows them to reflect properly. This could mean your mirrors are higher or lower than where you'd usually place your art. If the mirror will be used for function, make sure you don't have to crouch to see your reflection.

6. Let the frame shine

The frame tells the story, so consider what style and effect you're going for in the room. Gilded frames evoke Haussman sensibilities, so go for gold if you want to give your room a Parisian vibe. Starburst mirrors have a retro ‘60s vibe and work well in Mid-Century Modern homes.

7. Get creative

There are unlimited ways to use mirrored surfaces purely as d├ęcor. Mirrors capture the reflective element of water, making them popular with Coastal Design styles. A mirrored backsplash in your kitchen is a great way to add shine, while a mirrored vanity or dresser instantly adds a touch of glitz and glamour to your boudoir.

8. Don't ignore the elements of Feng Shui

Feng Shui experts would caution against mirrors in the bedroom, especially if you're not sleeping well. Avoid hanging mirrors directly in front of an entryway or facing your bed; instead, place them on an adjacent wall so you can take a glance before you leave the house, without draining your qi.


Are you interested in selling or buying your home in the next few months? Work with award winning realtor, Carmen Leal and her team that specialize in Real Estate Vancouver and have qualified Buyers that are looking for a home in your area!   604.218.4846 &

                                                                 This communication is not intended to induce breach of existing listing agreement.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

20 Genius House-Cleaning Tricks That Will Blow Your Mind

On average, people spend nearly 40 minutes a day cleaning their homes. And, with the exception of those who truly find dusting their baseboards and scrubbing their ovens akin to bliss, most people are likely eager to use that time for more enjoyable activities.

1. Clean Your Blender With Soap

Vancouver Realtor-Carmen Leal
Cleaning a blender is a perilous activity, at best. You’re essentially sticking your hand into a bowl full of knives and hoping for the best every time you try to remove the remnants of that kale smoothie from your blades.

The good news? It’s easy to remove that stuck-on gunk by pouring some warm water, a little baking soda, and a little dish soap in your blender and pulsing it for a few seconds. Afterward, give it a good rinse or pop it in the dishwasher to get it looking like brand new once again. 

2. Make Your Sink Fixtures Gleam With Wax Paper

Vancouver Realtor-Carmen Leal
Sinks are among the dirtiest places in the home, with a recent study published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology revealing that many sinks, even those in hospitals, are crawling with drug resistant bacteria. And the constant wear and tear we put on our sinks often means they look less-than-clean, even after they’ve been disinfected.

The solution? After sanitizing with an antibacterial cleanser, polish those faucets and tap handles with some wax paper. Not only will this help remove water spots, the wax will help prevent future stains, as well. 

3. Clean Out Your Coffee Maker With Some Vinegar

Vancouver Realtor-Carmen Leal
Even those of us who use our coffee makers on a daily basis probably aren’t cleaning them as much as we should be. Unfortunately, research published in Scientific Reports suggests that our coffee makers are a veritable hotbed of bacterial activity, and we might just be ingesting some of that icky stuff along with our dark roast.

So, how should you combat all that bacteria? A monthly vinegar rinse should do it. Simply fill your coffee maker’s reservoir with a few tablespoons of white vinegar mixed with water, run it, and run it once more with only water So, how should you combat all that bacteria?

4. Keep Your Washer Smelling Fresh With Bleach

Vancouver Realtor-Carmen Leal
While many of us think of our washing machines as self-cleaning, that’s far from the case. In fact, one study suggests that 60 percent of all washing machines tested contained harmful bacteria, including E.coli. Fortunately, you can easily ditch the bacteria in your washer by running it with a combination of hot water and a quart of bleach and opting for the sanitize setting.

5. Skip the Traditional Mop

Vancouver Realtor-Carmen Leal
Ditch your traditional mop in favor of a microfiber duster and you’ll make your home cleaner and less contaminated in no time. Research suggests that wet mops tend to harbor so much bacteria that they can’t be readily cleaned with chemicals alone, but microfiber mops with single-use pads are the ideal tools for keeping your home cleaner.

So, after you’re done vacuuming, use a bit of cleaner on a microfiber pad to clean your floors, surfaces, and even your electronics with ease - and without getting your hands dirty.

6. Sweep Your Baseboards With a Dryer Sheet

Vancouver Realtor-Carmen Leal
Getting on your hands and knees to clean your baseboards is anything but enjoyable. The good news? You can keep them clean and keep your house smelling fresh with one clever trick: attach a dryer sheet to your Swiffer in place of a microfiber cloth and pick up all that unwanted dust while lending a sweet scent to your home. 

7. Clean Your Shower Head With Some Vinegar

Vancouver Realtor-Carmen Leal
That spotty shower head in your bathroom is just as gross as it looks. In fact, one study reveals that one-fifth of shower heads tested were contaminated with Mycobacterium avium, which can cause serious respiratory health issues.

The good news? Keeping the outside of your shower head clean isn’t difficult. Simply fill a sandwich bag with white vinegar and affix it to your shower head with rubber bands, leaving it to soak overnight. And while many may doubt how effective anything short of bleach can be at killing bacteria, research from the American Society for Microbiology suggests that the acetic acid in vinegar significantly diminishes bacterial counts, even for hard-to-beat germs like tuberculosis.

8. Freshen Up Your Mattress With Baking Soda

Vancouver Realtor-Carmen Leal
With any luck, by the time you reach adulthood, you’re washing your pillows and pillowcases on a regular basis. However, most of us don’t do much in the way of cleaning our mattresses, save for occasionally laundering our sheets.

The good news? You can still limit the bacterial contamination and allergy-provoking dust on your bed in no time. At least once a month, vacuum your mattress and apply an ample sprinkling of baking soda to it. Let the baking soda sit for a few hours to absorb any odors, vacuum again, and voila! A cleaner, less gross place to sleep. 

9. Disinfect Your Sponges in the Microwave

Vancouver Realtor-Carmen Leal
You use your kitchen sponge to clean utensils, dishes, even countertops. Unfortunately, by doing so, you might be spreading millions of bacteria throughout your home. The solution? Zap that sponge in the microwave.

Slightly dampen your sponge, pop it in the microwave for 90 seconds on full power, and you’ll reduce the amount of bacterial contamination on that sucker by up to 99 percent, according to research published in the Journal of Environmental Health. Just make sure your sponge doesn’t have any metal scrubbers or you’ll be adding “buy a new microwave” to your list of chores. 

10. Un-scratch Your Plates With Baking Soda

Vancouver Realtor-Carmen Leal
A slip of the knife here, an overzealous fork there, and suddenly, you’ve got a stack of unsightly scratched plates in your kitchen. Fortunately, it’s easy to make your plates look brand new again with some baking soda. Simply make a paste of baking soda and water, rub it into the scratches, and in no time, your dishes will look as good as new.

11. Freshen Your Garbage Disposal With Some Lemons

Vancouver Realtor-Carmen Leal
With all the junk we throw into our garbage disposals, it’s no wonder they’re a veritable petri dish, and bear all the nasty odors that prove it. Making them a whole lot less gross is easy: simply squeeze some lemons into your drain, and let your disposal gobble up the rinds.

12. Clean Blinds With Your Vacuum

Vancouver Realtor-Carmen Leal
Cleaning blinds is often a thankless task, and one that always takes more time than we’re expecting. To make it easier and quicker, use the upholstery attachment on your vacuum instead, and that dust will be done for in seconds. Alternately, you can also wipe them off and give your home a clean scent by putting a dryer sheet in a pair of tongs and giving them a swipe.

13. Steam Clean Your Microwave

Vancouver Realtor-Carmen Leal
That stuck-on mess from the time you tried to heat up your leftover spaghetti is going to take a lot of elbow grease to remove. Luckily, a little steam can make the job a whole lot easier. Simply fill a microwave-safe bowl with a few tablespoons of white vinegar and a cup of water, and nuke on high for a few minutes. Your microwave will quickly steam up, making those caked on messes a breeze to clean off afterwards.

14. Dust Your Surfaces With a Sticky Lint Roller
Vancouver Realtor-Carmen Leal
Dusting is an imperfect art. However, when you need to pick up that handful of craft glitter your kids spilled, get pet hair off a lampshade, or just grab some dust, a sticky lint roller does the trick with ease.

15. Soak Your Stove Burners in Ammonia For Easy Cleaning

Vancouver Realtor-Carmen Leal
Research suggests that a shocking 41 percent of all home fires start in the kitchen, often as a result of errors on the stove. Fortunately, eliminating some of the grease and grime on your burners can help you stay safer in the long run. Pop off those burner parts, put them in a large sandwich bag with a quarter-cup of ammonia - they shouldn’t be swimming in the stuff - and simply close up the bags. Leave them to soak overnight, and by morning, you can simply wipe off that gunk with ease.

16. Protect Your Pillows

Vancouver Realtor-Carmen Leal
The bad news: your pillows are teeming with everything from bacteria to dead skin to dust mites. The good news: keeping them clean isn’t that hard. In addition to washing your pillow cases once a week and washing the pillows themselves on a monthly basis, buying antimicrobial zippered pillow protectors can help keep your bed free of any unwanted microscopic guests.

17. Clean Those Cutting Boards With Lemon

Vancouver Realtor-Carmen Leal
While most plastic cutting boards can be popped into your dishwasher to get clean, wooden cutting boards are a different animal entirely. Luckily, you can get out those difficult stains in your cutting boards by rubbing them with some lemon and salt. Sprinkle some kosher salt on your cutting board, using half a lemon to rub it in. Let the mixture sit on your boards for a few minutes, then give it a rinse with clean water. And yes, worrywarts, you can keep using those wooden boards without incident. 

18. Use Dryer Sheets to Clean Your Pans
Vancouver Realtor-Carmen Leal
That stuck-on grime in your pan is no match for your dryer sheets. Simply put the pan in your sink with a little dish soap, warm water, and a dryer sheet, let the combo sit for an hour or two, and when you’re ready to pour out the water, the mess will easily wipe away.

19.Get a Streak-Free Shine With Newspaper

Vancouver Realtor-Carmen Leal
If you’re using paper towels to get your mirrors and windows streak-free, you’re doing yourself a disservice. The easier (and cheaper) way to clean your glass surfaces is by using soy ink newspaper, which won’t streak or leave your surfaces covered with lint. 

20. Scrub a Cast Iron Skillet With a Potato

Vancouver Realtor-Carmen Leal
Cast iron pans can be a pain to clean, thanks to their specifically-seasoned coating, which can flake off or rust if cleaned improperly. Luckily, all you need is a little salt and a potato to get off those messes safely. Simply pour some coarse salt into the pan and use half a potato to rub it in until that mess has broken up and can be rinsed away. 


Are you interested in selling or buying your home in the next few months? Work with award winning realtor, Carmen Leal and her team that specialize in Real Estate Vancouver and have qualified Buyers that are looking for a home in your area!   604.218.4846 &

                                                                 This communication is not intended to induce breach of existing listing agreement.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

10 Ways To Destress Your Life

Destress your life when it gets tough. Life can be hard, which is an extreme understatement. Sometimes, it feels like all we do is work to pay bills for a million things that are hard to maintain. Heartbreak is common. Children can be stressful. The sun doesn’t always shine, literally and figuratively.

Surefire ways to destress your life:

But there are so many things you can do for yourself to let go of stress. There are so many very easy, normal things to focus on when you feel the pressure of the world coming down on you. If you are going through a stressful period, follow these steps to destress your life. If you are not currently going through a stressful period, be proactive and nip stress in the bud. These tips are surefire; all humans will relax once they participate.

1. Know your stresses

The best way to deal with your stress is to know what it is. Stress can be caused by anything. Major life events like buying a house or planning a family can be stressful, but little things can be as well. Even falling asleep at night can be a really stressful activity for some people. As long as you are aware of what causes you stress, you will be able to deflect it better.

2. Exercise

We all know that exercise is great for us, but we do not all participate in exercise. Even if you have too busy of a life to work in a quick sprint at the gym, there is always something to do that can help you get your workout on.
  • Hit the gym for twenty minutes – that is exercising!
  • Go for a family walk after dinner – that is exercising!
  • Dance along to your favourite tunes while you clean up – that is exercising!
Exercise comes in many, many forms. Don’t shy away from it because you have not found what works the best for you yet.

3. Do yoga

Now yoga definitely does not seem like an exercise for everyone, but I assure you it is. Yoga is not only good for the body; it is good for the mind. Stretching and breathing and pushing your body to be as flexible as possible is good for everyone. If you have never tried yoga, it is worth the venture.

*** Your mind will answer most questions, if you learn to relax and wait for the answer.***

4. Take a trip

It does not necessarily need to cost you a lot of money to take a vacation, so don’t let that aspect add to your stress. Even if you road trip to the next biggest city, or to the next smallest city, you will be doing yourself a favor. Getting away from your town is always a great stress reliever. Stay at a friend’s house, or if you can afford it, go to a beach resort! You have always wanted to, so what are you waiting for? Even a brief vacation can be exhilarating. Great for the body and mind.

5.  Serve others

Do good deeds. They say that helping others is one of the best things you can do in your life. Nothing makes someone feel better than helping someone else. If you have the time to volunteer on a regular basis, do it. Volunteering has been proven to help destress your life, boost confidence, and make people happier overall. If you can feel happier about your own life by improving someone else’s, why not do so?

6. Take a day off

Calling in sick is appropriate when you are actually ill, but it can be appropriate for your mental health, as well. Take a sick day if you are so overwhelmed that you cannot focus on your work. Clean your house, read your book, take a walk; do whatever you need to do to feel fully relaxed. A day off of work can be extremely beneficial to your mental health.

7. Change your diet

Studies have shown that salt intake can increase your stress levels. Eating fried food and drinking a lot of soda is also linked to stress. Drinking too much alcohol affects your sleep, which affects your stress levels. If you want to calm down, eat your fruits and vegetables and cut your sugar in half. You will be amazed at how good you feel after a week or two.

8. Sleep

Speaking of sleep, arguably the best way to destress your life, is to sleep. Put your electronics down at least an hour before you go to bed. Don’t drink (anything but water or tea) or eat any food at least two hours before you go to sleep. Read a book (not in bed) or listen to classical music to relax you. Your sleep will thank you later.

9. Go to the doctor

Instead of ignoring persistent headaches or muscle aches, go to the doctor. Self-diagnosing is never a good idea, and ignoring aches and pain is not recommended. Going to a doctor is the best way to make sure your health is on track, not to mention any pain you have is potentially very curable.

10. Read a book

In this day and age, it is hard to carve time out of the day to read a book rather than your Facebook page. Books are the best way to escape from your real life and enter someone else’s. Reading a book is a great way to destress your life and also a great way to expand your mind and challenge your intellect.


Are you interested in selling or buying your home in the next few months? Work with award winning realtor, Carmen Leal and her team that specialize in Real Estate Vancouver and have qualified Buyers that are looking for a home in your area! 604.218.4846 & 

                                                                This communication is not intended to induce breach of existing listing agreement.