About Susan Pauls-Valerio Broker of Record

The Pauls legacy in Hamilton real estate all started in the 1950's with Frank Pauls. It wasn't long after Frank started selling real estate that he opened his own brokerage, Frank Pauls Real Estate. He opened the doors to his new brokerage on Septmeber 6, 1962. In 1967 Frank Pauls was elected as the president of the Hamilton Real Estate board. Frank had a very successful Real Estate career. Not only was he successful at selling Real Estate, he was a sought after motivational speaker; helping other Realtors learn how to sustain a career. Frank sold Real Estate in the Hamilton area for many years. In 1971 he was joined by his son, Jim Pauls. Jim started his career working at, Frank Pauls Real Estate. Over the past 40+ years Jim has owned his own brokerages and also worked for some branded companies. Jim had a consistent award winning sale production. Jim has also been a mentor to many local Realtors in the Hamilton area. In the early 2000's when Susan joined Jim they decided to open Jim Pauls Real Estate Ltd, using Frank's original logo as their own.

5 Key Things to Know When Buying a Home

5 key things to know when buying a homeIn Canada, most of us put off searching for a new home until the spring or summer, when the snow has long melted away. But purchasing real estate in the winter can be a smart move since the market is often cooler and there’s less competition from other buyers. If you do decide to buy this winter, here are some tips from the Ontario Real Estate Association to keep in mind.

1. List your priorities. Before you start searching, write up a list of things that truly matter to you in a home, so you can be sure to get what you want and avoid getting sidetracked with features that may be impractical. Things like public transportation, cultural diversity, entertainment hubs and space for a home office can be deciding factors depending on your unique needs and preferences.

2. Start with an expert. While DIY is a great option for many tasks, finding your dream home is not one of them. Real estate transactions can be complex and often involve lawyers, bankers and surveyors. A Realtor is an expert in matching people to their ideal residences and can help you navigate the process from start to finish. Your Buyer Representation Agreement outlines the details of the relationship with your Realtor.

3. Scope out the neighbourhood. You will want some serious intel on the area you’re going to be calling home. Take some time to explore the neighbourhood — walk the streets, strike up conversations with passersby, eat at local restaurants and check out community amenities like parks and recreation centres. If you have kids, be sure to visit the local school.

4. Get pre-approved. You don’t want to wait until you find the perfect place to make an appointment with your bank to know if you can afford it. Before you book any viewings, schedule a visit with your mortgage broker to get pre-approved for a mortgage and set a realistic housing budget that you can manage.

5. Blend emotion with logic. Our emotions can sometimes play a big role in deciding whether something feels right. Although it’s important that your new home inspire positive feelings, ensure you are making a smart, well thought-out decision. Get an inspection, verify the list price, and ensure your offer is fair and reasonable for the current market.

Find more information at www.orea.com.

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7 Secrets to Sell Your Home Successfully

7 secrets to sell your home successfully

Here are some tips from the Ontario Real Estate Association that will help your home stand out when you decide to sell.

Here are some tips from the Ontario Real Estate Association that will help your home stand out when you decide to sell.

1. Focus on first impressions. You only get one, so make sure everything potential buyers see first is in top shape. During winter, keep your driveway shovelled and hats and mittens neatly stored for a clutter-free entryway.

2. Empty your closets. A great trick is to create the illusion of extra storage space with half-empty closets, drawers and cabinets.

3. Upgrade strategically. Skip costly major overhauls — quick fixes are cheaper, easier and can often deliver a better return on your investment. Things like a fresh coat of paint, cleaning the carpets, and replacing door and cabinet handles in the kitchen are big-impact projects that can be accomplished in a weekend.

4. Edit personal touches. Buyers are more likely to make an offer if they can visualize themselves living in your home, so put away family photos and kitschy personal mementoes. Stick to simple artwork and accessories that make the space feel lived-in, but neutral.

5. Understand legal documents. When you list and sell your home, there are several real estate documents you need to complete the transaction, like the Agreement of Purchase and Sale and the Listing Agreement. Work with your Realtor to make sure you understand the important information in these agreements and that they contain the specific wording that suits your needs.

6. Make sure the price is right. You don’t want to leave money on the table but you also shouldn’t set the price unreasonably high, or you may scare away buyers and keep your house on the market longer than necessary. Your Realtor can help you determine what’s right for your local market.

7. Light it up. A home that looks bright, airy and spacious is more welcoming and feels larger. Get the look by opening the curtains before viewings, choosing pared-down window treatments in light colours, and adding a few strategic lamps, which you can borrow from a friend until you sell.

Find more information at www.orea.com.

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Exploring New Opportunities for Affordable Home Ownership

As more millennials look to become first-time homebuyers and boomers search for housing that better fits their needs, smart solutions are needed to ensure home affordability for years to come.

One idea being recommended by Ontario Realtors is more housing supply. To meet the needs of diverse families, it’s important to add more variety of homes to the market, such as townhouses, stacked flats and mid-rise buildings — and government can support these efforts.

“Over the past year, Ontario Realtors have been sounding the alarm on the lack of housing supply in the Greater Golden Horseshoe. It is imperative that governments work collaboratively with municipalities and developers in reducing the barriers that have impeded necessary growth in the housing market,” says Ettore Cardarelli, President of the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA).

According to Ontario Realtors, increasing housing supply in the province is the best long-term solution to keep home ownership within reach for young buyers and future generations.

“OREA’s plan for increasing housing supply in Ontario includes speeding up building approval processes, encouraging building more ‘missing middle’ type homes and making sure infrastructure funding is targeted towards water, sewer, roads and transit to land already designated for development,” says Cardarelli.

Find more information at www.orea.com.

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Major changes coming to new home building methods

Major changes coming to new home building methodsAcross Canada, home builders are adopting new approaches to construction to create greener homes with better resale value. One major change that’s tackling energy consumption and rising fuel costs is the use of an air-tight, solid concrete system to replace inefficient wood-framing. Insulated concrete forms (ICFs) erect a building with an interlocking system, similar to Lego.

“It’s a switch for builders, but those who have switched over tell us it’s quite easy to build with ICFs,” says Natalie Rodgers of Nudura, a leading name in the field. “Customer demand has driven this change and builders are now seeing how green construction options can have a positive impact on their business.”

The ICF system is now the number one choice of wall-building methods for “net-zero” construction projects south of the border. The term net-zero applies to buildings that are so energy efficient, they don’t tap into any public utility fuel supplies. The goal is for as many homes, schools and public buildings as possible to be designed to be net-zero. Here are some advantages of net-zero construction using ICF.

Building guide. Underscoring these proactive measures, the non-profit organization, LEED also reminds us that constructing a green home leaves a much smaller carbon footprint due to less demand on natural resources. It will create less waste and be healthier and more comfortable for the occupants.

Fuel savings. Walls built with ICFs are proven to reduce energy bills up to 60 per cent; reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and reduce or eliminate exposure to mould, mildew and other indoor toxins. The net cost over time is comparable to owning a conventional home and the resale return is generally assured.

Durability. Concrete is strong. Due to high-impact resistance, these concrete walls assure maximum safety in high wind areas. Fire resistance is also reported to be maximized at four hours.

Comfort. Unlike in conventional wooded frames, air gaps are eliminated in ICF, minimizing the potential for mould growth and draft. The end result is an airtight structure enabling the mechanical systems to heat, cool and ventilate the structure more efficiently, creating a healthier living and working environment.

Responsibility. The materials are recyclable and the system is designed to create less landfill waste during the construction process. Combined with other eco-construction methods, this concrete system will significantly reduce carbon emissions by lowering the amount of fossil fuels needed for heating and cooling.

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Holiday ideas for quality time at home

Holiday ideas for quality time at homeThe holidays are a joyful time to share with family and loved ones. Open your home as well as your heart, and bring everyone together to celebrate around your home theatre this holiday season:

Blast from the past. Having everyone together for the holidays is the perfect time to take a stroll down memory lane. Work with your family to create a video slideshow of all your favourite photos from over the years and pair it with some holiday tunes. You’ll be sure to dig up some heartfelt and hilarious moments to cherish.

The full package. Why not pack in as many fun filled memories as you can? Whether you and your friends are hanging out listening and singing along to Christmas carols or watching your favourite Christmas special, LG Ultra Slim Sound Bar is designed to pair beautifully with your TV – and its slim design won’t distract from your holiday décor. The expansive and precise audio will complement your holiday festivities, by bringing sounds to life.

Celebrate family. After all the dancing, singing and merriment, it’s time for you and your family to take it easy and connect with those that mean the most to you. Bring family from all over the world into your living room! Video chat with them straight from your TV, and raise a glass of eggnog to family this holiday season.

Find all the latest home theatre technology at www.lg.ca.

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How to get your home holiday-ready

How to get your home holiday-readyPrep your home for a flurry of activity with these simple steps.

1. Incorporate magical seasonal scents. Fill your space with holiday-scented aromas from candles, or simmer your own potpourri with ingredients like vanilla, cinnamon, pine or bitter orange.

2. Build a fire to create a warm and comfortable atmosphere. Keep fuzzy blankets and pillows on hand for both decoration and functionality and bring out a board game for a little entertainment. If you need extra warmth, cozy up in a Denver Hayes fleece robe from Mark’s and make some hot chocolate.

3. Be the best host and stock up on supplies that guests will use if they stop by. Essentials include towels, sheets, pillows and shower supplies. Make sure you keep these items accessible close to where guests are staying.

4. Make a grand entrance. Welcome your guests at the door with a fresh wreath and add holiday touches such as an entrance table with lighted tinsel trees, candles and ornaments. These details make a great first impression.

5. Don’t forget to make space in your home. Clear out your closet to make room for the influx of coats and winter boots and make space in your fridge and freezer for leftover food and beverages. Adding extra storage space will help keep you organized.

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The 10 best toys to give this Christmas season

The 10 best toys to give this Christmas seasonThe must-have toys for 2017 include something for every age and stage, and at every budget. Whether you’ve got a builder, adventure-seeker or curious preschooler on your list, there’s a toy for every child.

It’s also easier than ever to shop for toys, with some retail stores offering in-store, online and app options.

“We take the guesswork out of finding the hottest toys at the lowest prices,” said Sarah Dennie, director of customer marketing at Walmart Canada. “Our Toy Academy team listens, analyzes and tracks all the toy data, ratings and reviews online. We use this information to create top toy lists so our customers can easily find the perfect gifts for their kids.”

The best toys guaranteed to put a smile on little faces this year include:

For one- to three-year-olds: The Think & Learn Teach n’ Tag Movi is an adorable mini robot that encourages preschoolers to get moving while simultaneously teaching them to follow directions.

For three- to five-year-olds: Children will serve up creativity and imagination with the Laugh & Learn Servin’ Up Fun Food Truck — its blend of kitchen and vehicle play will keep preschoolers engaged for hours. Inspired by the hit television series, the PJ Masks Deluxe Headquarters playset, another great toy, is a double-sided playset filled with stimulating kid-powered features. Finally, the Paw Patrol My Size Lookout Tower and the Paw Patrol Sea Patroller both offer hours of exciting rescue missions for kids who love the popular television show.

For five- to eight-year-olds: The FurReal Roarin’ Tyler Tiger is an interactive pet that reacts to sound and touch with over 100 responses. And for those who crave action, the Hot Wheels Ballistik Racer is a super-fast remote-control car with endless stunt and trick possibilities.

For eight- to 10-year-olds: The Nerf Modulus Regulator with three firing modes keeps kids’ active while fuelling their desire for adventure.

For kids 12 years old and up: It’s all about crazy cool gadgets, and the Propel Maximum X01 Micro Drone is just that. This drone encourages technical skills for the future while also offering hours of fun. For those who enjoy mind games, Hearing Things gets players to wear speech-cancelling electronic headphones and guess what they think a teammate is saying by reading their lips.

Find the best toys for all budgets at Walmart.ca/ToyAcademy

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How mortgages have changed

How mortgages have changedIf you’re like millions of Canadians, you’re busy paying down your mortgage. It could take 25 years or so, but it can be a great way to accumulate personal wealth, especially if house prices rise. However, with changes to mortgages in recent years, it’s important to understand just how they are different if you want to fully benefit from your home’s potential to build your personal wealth over the long term, rather than your debt.

Today, to finance your house most banks will offer you a readvanceable mortgage if you have a down payment of 20 per cent or more. It combines a traditional mortgage with a home equity line of credit (HELOC). There’s a big difference between these two forms of debt.

First, your mortgage debt only goes one way — down — because you must make regular payments against both the interest and the principal borrowed. This increases the equity you have in your home, meaning the difference between what you still owe and the value of your home.

But as you pay down your mortgage, a HELOC lets you borrow against your growing equity as part of your mortgage. Unlike your mortgage, you only have to make regular payments against the interest. You can ignore the principal until you sell the house. This short-term credit advantage can mean a long-term debt problem.

With flexible repayment terms, low interest rates and a credit limit that rises with your equity, a HELOC can be used to pay off other, higher-interest debt or home renovations.

But would a HELOC tempt you to use your home like an ATM? Mounting HELOC debt could put you at increased risk if you lose your job, get sick or injured, interest rates go up or your home decreases in value. If it consumes too much of your equity, you might end up owing more than your home is worth, lose your home or have to sell it to pay down your debt.

To use this borrowing tool wisely, stick to a plan to pay it off fully and avoid continually borrowing against your home equity.

Learn more online at canada.ca/it-pays-to-know.

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House hunting or selling your home? Check radon levels

House hunting or selling your home? Check radon levelsOne of the biggest mistakes both buyers and sellers make is not testing for hidden health hazards. But if you’re a buyer, you want to make sure that your new home will provide a healthy living environment for you and your family. If you’re a seller, showing that your home is free from certain dangers can help close the deal and offer potential buyers peace of mind.

One hazard that Health Canada is recommending that all homeowners test for is radon, a radioactive gas that comes from uranium in the ground and can get into a home undetected.

Since long-term exposure to radon is known to cause lung cancer, it’s a smart move to check its levels. Testing is simple — you can either purchase a do-it-yourself test kit or hire a certified radon measurement professional. The DIY kit will include instructions on how to set up the test and send it back to a lab for analysis once the testing period is over.

To get a realistic estimate of the radon exposure, all measurements should be made in the lowest lived-in level of the house where people spend more than four hours per day. Potential measurement locations include family rooms, living rooms, dens, playrooms and bedrooms. A lower level bedroom is preferred because people generally spend more time in their bedrooms than in any other room in the house. Similarly, if there will be children in the house, lowest level bedrooms or other areas such as a playroom are preferred.

Health Canada recommends a long-term test for a minimum of three months. If you’re selling, this means you should complete the test before listing your property. If you’re buying, you will need to make sure there is enough time to complete the testing or request that a clause be added to the sale agreement to allow for high radon levels to be fixed. The cost of a radon reduction system, if needed, is very small compared to the cost of the home.

A dream home doesn’t become a nightmare if it tests positive for high radon levels — techniques to lower radon levels are effective, affordable and will improve the home’s indoor air quality. A radon mitigation system can be installed in less than a day, and in most homes will reduce the radon level by more than 80 per cent for about the same cost as other common home repairs such as replacing the furnace or air conditioner.

Find more information at www.canada.ca/radon.

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Single Story For Sale in Westdale, Hamilton

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•  2 bath, 2 bdrm single story$449,900.
MLS® #H3189778  

– This beautifully renovated 2 bedroom bungalow is located near Churchill Park in the Princess Point Conservation Area and is only steps from RBG forests and nature trails. Step inside and view this warm and inviting home that has been renovated from top-to-bottom. Stunning open concept kitchen with stainless steel appliances, hardwood floors, 2 beautiful full bathrooms, updated windows, nicely finished basement & many more updates. Beautiful yard with stunning private deck. Located in an extremely quiet part of Westdale. Only a short walk to local shopping, coffee shops, restaurants, grocery store, library, schools, outdoor public pool and fantastic children’s playground. Don’t miss out. Call today for your private viewing.

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