Wicker Porch Swing Buyers Guide

When you are looking for a great way to enjoy the warm summer evenings, or mild autumn days, buying a wicker porch swing is one of the best ways to do it. Before you start searching around for a new wicker porch swing though, you are going to want to make sure that you’ve gone over the buying process to ensure that you aren’t going to end up spending more money than you have to, or ending up frustrated from the purchase you’ve made.

First, you are going to have to decide on the style of wicker swing that you’re looking for. Depending on whether you want a painted swing, or naturally finished wicker, your cost is going to vary. Painted wicker furniture may stand the test of time better than naturally finished furniture, but a naturally finished or unpainted wicker porch swing will develop a rustic appeal to it that is hard to reproduce.

You are also going to want to make sure that when you decide on a swing to purchase, that you have the necessary hardware to mount it to your porch ceiling. Most manufacturers will include the hardware you need to mount it properly, however, if they do not, you will need to head down to a local hardware store and purchase the pieces separately.

Because wicker furniture is so durable, you can save yourself quite a bit of money by purchasing the swing in used condition. If you have antique shops in your area, you may be able to find a durable antique wicker porch swing that will match perfectly with your home, for much less than you would spend on a brand new swing.

Attract More Buyers by Staging Your Property!

As the Toronto real estate market goes through its shift towards becoming a balanced market, Sellers will find more competition from other similar properties trying to get the attention of the perspective buyers.

Now more than ever is the need to distinguish the property, and examine the benefits of staging when the time comes to sell.

Being a real estate Seller, you must first separate your emotional attachment to your home and look at it as a product to sell. This enables you to assess what has to be fixed, cleaned out and changed to prepare it for the marketplace and buyers. You’ll want to package your house or condo so that it’s attractive to the buyers and that they’re choosing your property over the competition.

As real estate markets are forever changing, so are marketing strategies as they are geared to gain the attention of the public that are considering making a purchase either now or in the near future. To gain an edge when your property is ready to sell involves a number of factors beginning at being priced right and presenting itself better than the competition. The most effective and proven method of packaging your property and gaining that competitive advantage is to Stage your property to sell!

A large number of newly built condos and lofts in Toronto are tempting buyers with seductive model suites designed to highlight the floor plans and special features using colour, furniture, art and lighting fixtures. The buyers immediately are able to relate to the mood of the suite and begin to envision themselves relaxing on that sofa and meal planning in the kitchen with the new appliances. These showrooms along with recent television programs have changed how buyers today look at purchasing properties. With few exceptions, today’s buyers have become accustomed to expecting a property to entice them from the moment they walk through the front door!

Depending on their budget, some Sellers will opt to rent both furniture and art to dramatically alter the appearance of their property. Staging professionals can quickly assess which pieces can be added to complete a room. If renting furniture and art is not for you, there are still a number of simple staging ideas in preparing your home that will make a huge impact and help maximize the results of your sale.

You’re about to set the stage for a flawless production which includes the Realtors coming through with their buyers for a showing.

Remember, your home is not for sale, but your house or condo is! You’ve already begun to separate yourself from the emotional strings that float around the personal elements of your space and have begun to choose which areas need to be touched up before the first buyer walks through your door.

If you’re living in a house, you can look at it from across the street and ask yourself if it justifies the price tag that you’re asking or should you make some changes? If you were a buyer, would you be excited about looking at your place? Many Realtors have had to cancel appointments because once their buyers saw the outside they didn’t want to go further in viewing it. Curb appeal is priceless and should tempt the buyers into wanting to see more! Being well-groomed and neat is a given, but you can go further with some small details and added touches that are definitely worth the effort and expense.

Starting at the front door, a new door mat, flower or seasonal plants in pots, sparkling hardware, new mailbox, keys turning easily, doorbell working are just some of the points to keep in mind. Drapes and blinds should be kept open so that in addition to allowing natural light inside, the exterior will also have a welcoming feel.

When buyers first enter your front door, what is the first thing they will see or smell? Subliminally they will have already begun to make a decision at this point as to whether your property is on their short list or off it.

Nothing smells better than clean! Fresh flowers that aren’t too strong can be fragrant and delightful accenting certain rooms and adding colour. Reed diffusers in oil with a soft and light aroma can help the property smell wonderful and fresh as you don’t want anything too strong or over-powering.

Your pets should not be on the property during showings, since some people are uncomfortable and you’ll want the buyers both relaxed and focused when starting to envision themselves possibly living there.

Another important reminder is to remove your personal and family photos. Buyers can’t move into your space emotionally if they’re staring at your wedding and kid’s pictures. Organize children’s bedrooms, removing posters, iridescent stars on the ceilings and overflowing shelves of stuffed animals and toys. These rooms can become more neutral so that buyers without children can still imagine the space as theirs. Simplify and organize your children’s rooms as you are doing to the rest of your property.

Now is the time to become decadent and invest in new and beautiful bed linens and towels. Your beds should have at least two to three pillows per head with big and fluffed-up comforters and bed skirts. You’ll be amazed at what a difference this effort makes and these are items you can use in your next home.
Another way to instantly add some punch in the living room is adding some new and exciting pillows. Be a little more adventuresome when choosing some elegant compliments to your furniture.

Regardless of the time of year, you’re going to want to make sure your windows are clean and streak free. It has a huge impact of allowing natural light in and showcasing your neighbourhood views.

If you have deferred any maintenance on your property, this is the time to repair it before selling. Most buyers will tend to envision repairs being 2-3 times what it actually costs to fix, especially if this is their first purchase. Often they will assume evidence of needed repairs suggest your property hasn’t been well-maintained and there might be more unseen problems lurking.

Your basement should also be dust-free along with the furnace and laundry rooms. Even if areas are unfinished, the walls and floors can be painted if necessary. When the mechanical area of your property looks well-maintained, it inspires confidence in your buyers.

Garages should also be well-organized and immaculate. If it’s simply a place where you have stored boxes and discarded equipment, consider renting a storage unit and moving it there to free up space and get yourself a head start on packing.

If you’re selling your house in winter months, if possible provide pictures that were taken during greener seasons when plants were in bloom and you can showcase your gardens. Seasonal pictures of landscaping that surrounds condo and loft buildings can also be shown to advantage during dreary dark months.

What many sellers are forgetting and neglecting is the potential of expanding their living space to include the outdoors. You just have to look at the new design in outdoor furniture that now includes lounge chairs, sofas, fireplaces and affordable gazebos that allows you to remain outdoors regardless of the sun or rain. Homeowners are even purchasing tall heating lamps that once would have been used only on commercial patios. Even these have become much more affordable.

Many of the properties in the older neighbourhoods of Toronto have smaller yards, but these too can still be transformed into huge selling features as an outdoor oasis for urban relaxing.

More than ever people are looking at decks and yards as their private get-away or cottage in the city. Portable sinks are being used by the BBQ area and fire pits for ambiance and warmth. An array of potted plants with flowers can complement any deck or patio. You can create a relaxing oasis with atmosphere and colour almost instantly.

With different choices today of decking materials, lighting and decorative accents, you can turn a nondescript deck into an awesome focal point of the house that grabs everyone’s attention.

Remember that staging is not only for indoors. When you add decorative details to your yard and deck improving the ambiance and mood of the area, it also helps buyers visualize the endless possibilities for your property.

It doesn’t matter if the space you’re working with is small, you can still transform your yard and deck area into a magical oasis. Buyers will always react positively to a nice area that looks like a great place for them to hang out with family and friends. If they’re looking at similar places, the one with the better outdoor space will usually come out ahead.

And above all, be sure your property is spotless and squeaky clean! The results of the effort taken to stage your property can not be overstated. Today’s buyers are influenced with media from magazines to television. Their expectations are higher than ever, and selling your property in urban Toronto can be very competitive. Roll up your sleeves, because you’re going to want your property to be described as “showing well” to help reach its maximum potential dazzling the buyers and what better way to start than from the staging preparation before it goes onto the Toronto Real Estate Market!

**April Esteves is an urban Toronto Realtor that has been helping her clients move since 1988. April is also an Accredited Staging Professional Realtor (ASPTM) who can offer you staging recommendations that will create a positive impact on buyers from the second they walk through the door. She will help you prepare your home for sale-an added value service at no added cost and when buying, will help you see the potential in your next home.

Aluminum Patio Furniture – Why It May Be Your Best Choice

What is it that sets aluminum patio furniture apart from the rest of the outdoor furniture?

First: Well one thing is that aluminum furniture is very durable and will last a long time. It is rust and corrosion resistant and therefore I prefer it to wood or wrought iron. Especially if you live where the elements are harsh and there is a lot of rain.

Second: Cast aluminum is lightweight compared to wrought iron and that makes moving it around a lot easier. If you like to move your furniture from the patio to the deck or to the yard, then cast aluminum is for you.

Third: The very high quality finish used on cast aluminum furniture makes it look like wrought iron furniture, but as mentioned earlier, cast aluminum won’t corrode or rust where wrought iron will.

Fourth: The aluminum patio furniture makers of today have developed some very well designed and beautiful furniture for the backyard. Of course, whether you have a deep seating arm chair, chaise lounge arm chair, or loveseat, pillows add a nice touch and the Sunbrella fabric used now is water repellent, mildew resistant and will dry in the air pretty fast.

One of the best places to find out more about aluminum patio furniture is Amazon. There you can read all the pros and cons that actual owners have to say about what they brought. If they have taken the time and trouble to go write a review you can be pretty sure they have a strong feeling about their purchase.

One name that continually shows up when you are looking for cast aluminum patio furniture is Strathwood. Their St Thomas collection is very well priced and extremely popular. There are dining tables, swivel dining chairs, deep seating arm chairs, chaise lounge chairs, loveseats and more. They have dining tables with an umbrella hole in the center, or tables with fire pit or ice bucket in the middle. I suggest you check out the Strathwood cast aluminum patio furniture at Amazon. I feel sure you can find something that will suit you backyard needs.

For the reason stated above, I would recommend buying from Amazon as they have some of the best prices on the Internet and they stand behind anything purchased from them. You want have any problems getting satisfaction with your purchase.

I read in the reviews of one buyer who received their dining table without the hardware. When they called Amazon, they were told that the hardware couldn’t be shipped separately, that a truck would be sent with a new table and would pick up the other table. Three days later the buyer had his new table and the other one picked up. Can’t beat service like that.

Cape Town Must See-VOC Castle Built In 1666

The Castle of Good Hope is the oldest building in South Africa. Built between 1666 and 1679 by the Dutch East India Company, better known as the VOC (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie), this pentagonal fortification replaced a small clay and timber fort built in 1652 by Commander Jan van Riebeeck, founder of the maritime replenishment station at the Cape of Good Hope.

In 1664 there were renewed rumours of war between Britain and the Netherlands and they feared a British attack on the Cape. During that same year Commander Zacharius Wagenaer was instructed to build a five-pointed stone castle. On 26 April 1679 the five bastions were named after the main titles of Willem, the Prince of Orange. The western bastion was named Leerdam; followed in clockwise order by Buuren, Catzenellenbogen, Nassau and Oranje.

In 1682 the gateway replaced the old entrance, which faced the sea. The bell tower, situated above the main entrance was built in 1684. The original bell Рthe oldest in South Africa Рwas cast in Amsterdam in 1697 by Claude Fr̩my and weighs 670 lbs. It was used to tell the hours and warn citizens of danger and it could be heard about 10 km away. It was also rung to call residents and soldiers to the Castle for important announcements.

Inside the walls of the Castle there were among others a church, bakery, workshops, living quarters, offices, cells and numerous other facilities. The yellow paint on the walls was chosen because of its ability to reduce heat and glare from sunlight. A wall divides the inner courtyard of the Castle. The division was initially intended to provide protection to the inhabitants of the Castle in the event of an attack. The well-known Kat Balcony is an outstanding feature of the dividing wall.

The original balcony was built in 1695, then rebuilt in its present form by the VOC between 1786 and 1790. From this balcony proclamations and announcements were made to the soldiers, slaves and civilians at the Cape. This balcony leads to the famous William Fehr Collection of historical paintings and period furniture, which have a special relevance to the Cape of Good Hope.

In 1936 the Castle of Good Hope was declared a national monument. As a result of an extensive, ongoing restoration programme launched in the 1980s, the Castle of Good Hope remains the best preserved fortification of its kind built by the VOC in regions where it had interests.

The Castle of Good Hope was the regional headquarters of the South African Army in the Western Cape, and houses the Castle Military Museum and ceremonial facilities for traditional Cape Regiments.

“The Castle of Good Hope was not built in consecutive order, so you will jump around from one time of history to another as you explore the Castle…”
Jay Heale

Inside the Castle:
The Castle Military Museum depicts the military history of the Cape, the Castle and Cape Regiments.

The Willian Fehr collection consists of artwork reflecting many aspects of cultural life at the Cape from the early VOC days until the middle of the 19th century. Exhibitions of a contemporary nature are occasionally presented.

During the restoration of the inner courtyard, the foundations of the early 18th century bakery and pool were discovered. The building, currently known as Het Bakhuys, has been reconstructed on these foundations. The original Dolphin pool was named after the impressive fountain in the form of a dolphin in the middle of the pool. Het Bakhuys also caters for functions and conferences.

The Castle forge is located in the earliest blacksmith workshop in South Africa. The Castle’s forge was initially built for the upkeep and maintenance of the Castle’s hardware and steel goods.

In her letters Lady Anne Barnard describes balls held at the Castle during her stay here at the end of the 18th century. These letters written from the Cape, describing many of the facets of the life of that time, have made her a legendary figure. The ballroom, over 180 feet in length, was originally divided into many smaller rooms of which one was occupied as her bed chamber. Since then the beamed ceilings have been covered with plaster and the room in its presence state is used as a Banqueting Room.

Visit the notorious dungeon. As a result of rising damp, the dungeon was not fit to store gun powder as intended and was later used as a prison for the accused awaiting trial.