direct:  604 990 6464
email:  gary@garyborn.com

Blog › December 2015

Home Staging Worth the Money, Effort? Yes.

Nearly every home seller hopes to get their property sold quickly and at top dollar.

Staging may be just the thing to help in that quest, according to the National Association of REALTORS’® 2017 Profile of Home Staging (http://bit.ly/2tGmtXe).

Using things like furniture, color, lighting, and accent pieces, professional stagers transform for-sale homes from ho-hum to oh-ah and work to make a property appeal to the largest number of prospective buyers

And their work has an impact: 39 percent of sellers’ agents said that staging a home greatly decreases the amount of time the home is on the market, according to NAR’s report.

Here are some of the report’s key findings:

 

Additional findings include:

  • The most commonly staged spaces include the living room (83 percent), kitchen (76 percent), master bedroom (69 percent), and dining room (66 percent).

  • Staging the living room was found to be most important to buyers (55 percent), followed by staging the master bedroom (51%), and the kitchen (41 percent).

  • Seventy-seven percent of buyers’ agents said staging a home made it easier for buyers to visualize a property as a future home.

 

Walkable Neighbourhoods Bring health Benefits


You’ve already heard that Millennials, probable future buyers of your home, favor walkable neighborhoods where they can reach transit, restaurants, and shopping without a car. 

But there’s another reason to pick a walkable community when you’re downsizing or choosing a new neighborhood. Walkable communities can have a positive effect on your health, specifically your blood pressure.

That’s according to preliminary findings of a study (see: http://www.medicaldaily.com/people-who-live-within-walking-distance-everything-may-be-less-likely-develop-high-360770 and http://newsroom.heart.org/file?fid=563f40d75e8eef6250536c2f) by Dr. Maria Chiu, a scientist with the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

The research suggests that people living in walkable neighborhoods had a 54 percent lower risk of high blood pressure when compared to those who moved to less walkable areas.

Researchers used Walk Score (www.walkscore.com )a site that allows you to type in an address to see just how walkable it is, and data from the Canadian Community Health Survey to see what happened to participants’ blood pressure as they moved from highly walkable neighborhoods to less walkable areas.

The theory is that those living in pedestrian-friendly areas incorporated physical activity into their routines as they went about taking care of the daily tasks of life.

So measuring the pedestrian friendliness of a neighborhood is worth considering when you’re vetting properties.

Senior housing challenges

Finding a walkable community is a great start for aging well. But more than walkability creates a good neighborhood for aging in place.

It also entails a host of other factors, including affordability and access to transit and home services.

A recent report, Seniors and Housing: The Challenge Ahead (https://www.fcm.ca/Documents/reports/FCM/Seniors_and_Housing_Report_EN.pdf), by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, outlines how well Canada is prepared for an aging population and what it needs to do to put in place the infrastructure that will allow the tsunami of seniors to live well.

There are challenges ahead and work to be done. Here are some study highlights. 

Growing demographic

Seniors are expected to account for almost one in four Canadians by 2036, with the most rapid population jumps expected among those 85 and older.

 Housing affordability

Close to 700,000 senior-led households face housing affordability challenges. One in four such households spend 30 percent or more on housing. And even though the majority of seniors would like to age in their own communities, there has been a steep decline in affordable housing options.

Government investment

The federal government’s annual contribution of $1.6 billion for social housing is scheduled to expire over the next 20 years. And by 2040, just when the senior population is expected to double, federal support for senior social housing will disappear.

Getting around

When people can no longer drive, their ability to age in place diminishes. How will seniors get to places to serve their basic needs – the grocery store and doctors’ offices – and the activities for social and psychological well-being without access to transportation?

Rethinking and retooling the design of cities and developing better transit options for aging Canadians remains a challenge.

Solving some of the problems require government intervention at both the local and federal levels, according to the research.

Among the report’s suggestions are finding ways for local government to deliver accessible transit and lower rental housing for seniors. And the federal government can reinvest in social housing and deliver incentives to build affordable housing and support programs to help seniors retrofit their homes for better aging in place.

Wintering well

The winter chill has already begun settling in. If you’re not a snowbird, the months ahead can be bleak and daunting.

Norwegians have a way to make winter less oppressive. They call it koselig, and it entails generating warmth, light, coziness, and conviviality.

The concept seems a bit vague, but several people have written about the more concrete aspects of it.

See: http://www.vogue.com/872644/what-we-can-learn-from-norwegians-about-surviving-winter/

http://www.lifeinnorway.net/2015/02/a-visual-guide-to-koselig

http://afroginthefjord.com/2014/02/02/how-to-make-things-koselig/  

Some of the strategies may be worth a try this year.

So pull out your blankets, build a fire, light some candles, and throw a dinner party.

Celebrate the season.

And good luck.



Health Benefits of Resilience


Recent news

Maybe you’ve missed some important news stories in recent months.  They include the health benefits of resilience, ways for cities to better serve an aging population, and the woes of caregiving. Here are some links:

Health benefits of resilience: www.health.harvard.edu/blog/stress-busting-mind-body-medicine-reduces-need-for-health-care-201510168450?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=socialmedia&utm_campaign=101615kr1&utm_content=blog

 



Get Smart About Strokes


Yes, no one really wants to think about strokes.

But stroke is the second leading cause of death for those over the age of 60, according to the World Health Organization.

Another startling statistic: 1.9 million brain cells die per minute after a stroke. So it’s no surprise that stroke is the leading cause of adult disability, which could mean paralysis, depression, pain, memory loss, and language problems.

Moreover, Canadians’ understanding of stroke is poor. Only one-third can describe what a stroke is, according to a Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada poll. Just one-fifth of respondents identified high blood pressure as a main risk factor for stroke. It’s actually the number one risk factor.

That same study (www.heartandstroke.com/atf/cf/%7B99452d8b-e7f1-4bd6-a57d-b136ce6c95bf%7D/HSF_2015_STROKE_REPORT_FINAL.PDF) found that most Canadians also don’t know that smoking, poor diet, physical inactivity, and obesity are risk factors for stroke.

Zero warning

And since strokes often come with no warning and strike quickly, you have no time when there’s an emergency to Google “stroke symptoms” or “stroke what to do.”

It’s better to be prepared by depositing some simple information into your memory that you can tap in a crisis.

Take five minutes to understand the basics. One day the knowledge could save your own or a loved one’s life.

F.A.S.T.

Speed --FAST – is king when it comes to reducing the effects of a stroke. 

You’ve likely seen the F.A.S.T. billboards and ads.  The acronym is designed to help people recognize and respond to the most obvious stroke symptoms.

They stand for:

Face Drooping-- Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person's smile uneven?

Arm -- Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

Speech Difficulty -- Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like "The sky is blue" or to sing the “Happy Birthday” song.  Are the sentences correct?

Time to call 9-1-1 -- If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 ASAP. Also, check the time of the symptoms’ onset. The emergency room doctors will want to know.

Other symptoms that come on suddenly that also can indicate a stroke include:

  • Confusion or trouble understanding  
  • Trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Trouble walking, dizziness, and loss of balance or coordination 
  • A severe headache with no known cause

Need for speed

Preventing damage and long-term disability is the reason why getting patients to the emergency room quickly is crucial.

In many cases, clot-busting medications can reverse or minimize the effects of a stroke. But those drugs need to be given within a few hours of the stroke’s onset for greatest effectiveness.