The Al Shrupka Karla Elcock RE/MAX Team

Outstanding Agents… Outstanding Results

Contact Karla Elcock
Contact Al Shrupka

Sellers: It’s Risky Pricing High to ‘See What Happens’

Jan - 24 | | no comments. | Blog, Karla Elcock, Realtors, Residential, retirement

Every seller wants to get the best deal for their house—So why not just price your house to the moon?

After all, you can just bring it down later, right?

Well, there are a few problems with that. If you price high and then slowly start bringing it down…and down…and down…buyers are going to notice. It makes that home start to seem like it’s in a bargain bin. You want your home to appear like a deal the day it hits the market, not cheapened goods months later. When properties sit on the market for an extended time because of overpricing, buyers are going to wonder why. Would you feel urgency as a buyer if you read that a property was listed 180 days ago? Probably not.

To set a realistic price, consider these tips:

Do your due diligence. What have houses like yours sold for when the deal was made in a reasonable time? And what were the original prices of those homes?  Remember…the price that you’ve seen on ads may differ greatly from what the actual selling price was half a year later.

Have an honest discussion with your real estate agent. He or she knows the area, and wants to sell your home as quickly as possible for the most competitive price.  Ask to see what other homes like yours have sold for.  So important.

Be an assertive seller, but don’t overplay your hand. Remember, the little extra money you hold out for may not be worth the six months or year of mortgage payments you’re stuck paying in the meantime!

An additional problem with pricing to high is that even IF a buyer came along who loved your home  and offered you your high price, their financial institution will probably want an outside appraisal prior to the mortgage financing being approved.  At that point, the appraiser is going to check on what like properties have sold for, and your exuberant buyer likely won’t get financing.  That’s an emotional roller coaster that you don’t want to ride!

We want your home to sell in good time, for the highest price possible.  We don’t want your home to sit on the market like most over priced listings so we won’t tell you that you can get more money, just to make you happy.  Doing that will just disappoint you later when you get no offers, or worse, the dreaded low ball offer.

Talk to your local RE/MAX agent who can help you price your home to sell.

DON’T TOSS IT AWAY How to Make Old Furniture Look New Again

May - 02 | | no comments. | Blog, Karla, Karla Elcock, Lac du Bonnet, Realtors, Residential, Uncategorized

Give Some New Life to Your Old Stuff

Here is an article that I found on a RE/MAX Facebook site that I follow.  The article is written by Gabrielle Savoie. 

At the end of this article I will post some pictures of some of my hacks with old furniture as well. 

In an ideal world, we would all be proud owners of our dream iconic chairs. We would own sprawling extra-deep sectional sofas and designer dining tables. Our homes would be cool and edgy with just the slightest hint of tradition. Just like a perfect street style outfit, our space would balance timeless classics, statement pieces, and chic basics effortlessly. But in reality, our limited budgets mean that we sometimes have to make do with a few less-than-stellar pieces in our homes: a dresser straight from grandma’s attic, a sofa that used to belong to our parents’ basement, or a chair that was picked up for a song at a garage sale.

In the worst scenarios, these pieces stick out like a sore thumb—clashing with everything else we own and ruining our entire design scheme. But this is no excuse to declare defeat—with just a few clever hacks, it’s possible to blend these lackluster pieces into a room so seamlessly, they might even become a favorite. To get some insight on how to work hand-me-downs into a room before throwing them out we turned to a group of talented interior designers who have more than a few DIY tricks up their sleeves.

Don’t kick that old dresser to the curb just yet; these experts have all the right tricks to give it a fresh new life.

When it comes to refinishing old furniture, you’ll usually come across two types of people: those who DIY and those who don’t. “I buy vintage dressers and cabinets from estate sales all the time and refinish them myself,” says interior designer Max Humphrey. “It takes some practice, but sanding it down and spraying on a fresh coat of shiny paint isn’t as hard as it looks. I used to paint with a brush by hand, but I invested in a simple paint spray gun, and it makes the finish so much more consistent and hides brush strokes. I love these sort of DIY projects because re-using vintage furniture is a way to be sustainable in your home décor decisions.”

Designer Brady Tolbert is also of the DIY camp, but he warns against going too bold in paint choices: “I have painted and repainted dressers too many times to count, but it has taught me that bright colors or what you think might be fun may not actually work with the piece. Pay attention to what else you have going on in the room, and opt for a more neutral color for the dresser.”

In the other camp, there are people who like to leave this work to the professionals: “While I have always admired people that can DIY on the weekends, refurbishing old pieces and making them shine like new, I know that it’s just not for me,” says interior designer Katie Hodges. “I suggest visiting a flea market and getting a quote from a vendor who rehabs vintage pieces. I’ve done this several times for myself and clients on a budget, and I have found the pricing to be more reasonable than the brick-and-mortar refinishing shops.”

TV personality and interior designer Emily Henderson agrees that some jobs are best left to the pros: “If the piece has good bones and solid construction, it can be refinished professionally for a couple hundred dollars depending on the size and the amount of detail it has. It may be more expensive than doing it yourself, but I’ve been so happy with the pieces that we have had redone.”

Reupholster and old Sofa

“If budget allows, I would work an unloved hand-me-down sofa or chair into a room by having it reupholstered,” says Humphrey. “There’s tons of well-made old furniture out there with good bones that can get a whole new life with some snappy, fresh fabric. You don’t need to buy designer fabric either; I go to fabric warehouses and buy second-run fabric for a few dollars per yard all the time.”

Finding an upholsterer can be tricky, but Humphrey has found the secret to getting the job done right through trial and error: “The key is being very specific in your design direction,” he says. “This can mean specifying the size of the welt, cushion fill options, the direction the fabric should run, and the tufting options. Sometimes you can save a few dollars by using the existing seat and back cushion inserts—as long as they aren’t grody. Occasionally, having a slipcover made can be more cost-effective, and you can remove it for easy washing.”

Hide With Chic Textiles

For anything upholstered, from sofas to chairs, and even headboards, designers know the value of throwing a quality fabric over a problem piece: “The easiest and quickest way to give a sofa some new life without reupholstery is to drape a vintage textile over the back to help bring it into the scheme of the room,” says Henderson.

“My first instinct is to reupholster a sofa if it has good shape and lines, but having been on the ‘hand-me-down train’ myself, I know that it’s often not a reality,” adds Hodges. “If you don’t love the fabric, drape a textile or tapestry on the most visible area (front or back), and layer in pillows. Don’t focus too much on the one thing that you don’t love in the room, and just roll with it.” Humphrey sometimes goes a step further by tucking the fabric around the cushions to really wrap the piece: “I like to use suzanis because they’re fun and colorful.”

Edit Your Color Palette

“Mixing different styles or pieces from different time periods can work well in a room,” says Houston-based interior designer Paloma Contreras. “The key element is that you need to have something that helps tie all the elements together, such as a cohesive color palette. Textiles, such as pillows, throws, and rugs, are an easy way to pull everything together.”

In fact, most designers we spoke to stressed the importance of sticking to a strict color palette: “The biggest mistake people often make is not having a consistent color palette,” says Tolbert. “Different styles can be easily mixed throughout a room as long as they have a good color story throughout that isn’t too jarring on the eyes.” To achieve this coherent look, Hodges recommends picking two or three colors that complement the space and layering various design elements like pillows, blankets, books, and artwork to drive the theme. “A unified color scheme amid random furniture bridges the style gaps and looks intentional.”

Create a Focal Point

Creating a focal point on a single vintage piece (or away from another) can also help in working hand-me-downs into a room. “A bold statement can divert the eye away from the least favorite pieces of furniture in a room,” says Hodges. “Use a large tree, a colorful painting, a gallery wall, or a wallpapered accent wall to establish the focal point, and use accessories carefully to support the leading role.”

When playing with multiple pieces, Henderson warns against mixing and matching too carelessly: “Keep in mind the styles of the pieces and scale as you begin to mix and match. As long as you keep scale and style in mind, you can have fun mixing things up.”

Throw Pillows On It

It may seem obvious, but a good mix of pillows can help hide almost any piece of furniture. “If you are working with a more limited budget, a quick fix is to add new throw pillows to the sofa,” says Contreras. “I love to change throw pillows seasonally to freshen up a space.” Tolbert agrees: “If the piece has good bones and is in a neutral color, accessorizing it with some new pillows to help blend it into the room is a quick and easy update—just remember to bring in some other vintage items into the room to help balance out the sofa so it’s not the only old thing in the room.”

If All Else Fails, Donate

Despite our best intentions, some pieces simply cannot be salvaged. “If your piece is in good condition consider donating it to a local charity,” says Henderson. “There are a lot of local homes, missions, and charities in your own neighborhood that often get looked over because people donate to the larger organizations out there. A lot of them will even come to your place to pick them up.” This is a great solution for those who are time-poor. “I am a huge fan of the Salvation Army’s program for recycling furniture,” adds Hodges. Pickup is often provided, and its program is funded solely on the generosity of individuals who donate goods to be sold in their stores.”

If you’re looking to make a few dollars to go toward a replacement piece, Tolbert recommends Craigslist, Chairish, and eBay. “It keeps my inner hoarder from taking over too much real estate in my small apartment and also allows me to switch things out pretty regularly when I find a new piece that I love.”

Karla’s Hacks

I have a lot of mix-matched style.  Much of the furniture in our house are pieces that were my moms style.  I guess I’m sentimental and have found a way to mix furniture that was in my family home growing up with our newer furniture. I also have a habit of buying used chairs with the hopes of recovering them, and when I get them home I find out that it’s too big of a job for me.  Below is a photo of a chair that I inherited from my mom.  It’s PINK and impossible to re-cover myself.

Too many buttons. One day, I threw a silk scarf on it.  It sits very close to our dining room which has recovered chairs, so I found a scarf that went with the colors of the chairs in the DR and Voila!

The scarf changed the look of the chair in a second.  I also threw another scarf of the same color on top of my table runner on the dining room table…just to change it up and make it flow with the chairs.  I love scarves and you can find them in second hand stores or on sale at most places.

The next picture is another chair.  This one I bought hoping that I could re-upholster it.  I couldn’t….so I painted the arms and legs from brown to white.  My husband thought I was crazy, saying the paint wouldn’t stick properly and that it would look ridiculous.  I did it anyway, I think I paid $10 for the chair, so no big deal.

Then I made a grouping of other white pieces and as you read earlier, I threw a pillow on it. Then I threw another pillow on the love seat and tied it all together.

(Oh Boy…we really need to get on the baseboard issue in our house lol)

I’ve received a few compliments on the white legged chair… and I like it…I have to look at it, so that’s really all that matters.  Here’s a plug for a local business.  The pillows were a great buy from Cottage Country Interiors in Lac Du Bonnet.  They have great pieces and are experts in décor and accessorizing, painting old furniture and tying pieces together.  If you haven’t been there, go check it out.

I’m so lucky that I’m able to get oodles of great ideas because of my job.  I get to see homes that are ready to sell and looking their best…that’s a big motivator in changing things up in my own home.  Another reason “I Love What I Do”



Staging Your Home Yourself

Apr - 13 | | no comments. | Blog

By Carriann Johnson, interior designer and TV personality

So you’ve decided to sell your home. While you’re preparing for this next chapter in life, keep some of your attention and energy on the importance of preparing your home to outshine all others on the market. Selling your home in the shortest amount of time, receiving your asking price and having an all-around flawless sale can be achievable if you properly prepare this (very large) item you’re about to sell. Here are my tips to ensure that success.

1. Emphasize the idea of move-in ready
A neutral palette (regardless of how boring you may think it is) will always be a timeless choice when it comes to paint, furniture and window coverings. And you don’t need to be a professional interior designer to arrange things within your home – visit some model homes in your area and take note of how they’re staged. Simple DIY projects go a long way.

2. Declutter and depersonalize
Potential buyers want to see themselves in your home; need to envision how they can make it theirs. Simplify spaces (including entryways) by removing everyday items such as TV remotes, schoolwork, piles of laundry, to-do lists on the fridge, personal photos and excessive amounts of pet toys. Clean out closets and begin boxing up items. If you know you’re moving, why not get a head start on your packing anyway? Clean, well-organized and minimal closets showcase space potential, not your personal items. And adding fresh flowers, plug-in air fresheners, a foyer table, simple décor and a nice rug can give buyers that well-needed hug when they enter your home!

3. Appeal to the senses
Walk your home and ask yourself (or others), “What do you see, smell, touch and hear?” Deep clean your home or hire a professional cleaning company to make it sparkle – it gives buyers the impression the home has been well cared for. Remember, sticky floors and filthy light switches appeal to no one. If you have pets, consider confining them to one area of the house while your home is on the market. Barking dogs (or chirping smoke detectors) can hurry a potential buyer along during a showing. Consider leaving on some instrumental music during showings to appeal to your buyers’ ears.

4. Remove the eyesores
Look around your home and ask yourself these questions: “Would I purchase this home today? Do I like the overall style? Is my home dated? Is my backyard a sanctuary for a family?” The answers to these questions will help you identify the eyesores. Look for items in your home that are dated, have harsh patterns or edgy colors, are too small to fill a wall or are too large on a small one. Styles that clash with one another, aged wallpaper, broken items you can’t repair, rusted car parts or clutter in your yard or patios all create eyesores. It’s better to have an empty wall, an empty room or nothing at all than something that doesn’t work for the space or is unappealing. Mirror your space after current styles and trends found in design magazines.

5. Consider using my checklist
Here is my checklist when I am staging a home. This list has never failed me and keeps me accountable – and sets my Realtor up for success!

– Grass is cut, edged and looks healthy.
– Weeds are pulled.
– Any dead bushes or trees have been removed.
– Simple flowers or wild grasses are added on patios and porches.
– House itself is cleaned and/or power washed.
– Toys, yard hoses, dog leashes, dog waste, yard statues are all cleaned up and put away.
– Back patio and yard are “lightly staged” with plants, cushions on chairs, and rugs under seating areas
and patio table. Add outdoor lanterns and candles.
– Patio or deck is cleaned.
– DIY projects are completed. To include: freshly stained deck, repaired broken floorboards, loose
banister railings, exterior lights, sheds or outbuildings organized and cleaned. Any landscaping
projects are not left incomplete. Large cracks in driveways or sidewalks are repaired.

– Home smells clean, looks clean, is decluttered and appeals to the senses.
– Eyesores are removed.
– Personal photos and items are put away.
– Daily messes and countertop items (in both the kitchen and bathroom) are put away.
– Toiletries, perfumes and jewelry are not left on vanity counters.
– Small appliances, dishes and kitchen needs are not cluttered on kitchen counters
– Fresh flowers or artificial plants are placed throughout the home to add life
to spaces.
– Color palettes and themes in each space are transformed to a more neutral palette. Bold patterns in décor or too many colors are minimized.
– Themes and prominent styles in home are minimized as to not assume the home is exclusively Santa Fe style, Tuscan style, Western, etc.
– DIY projects are completed. To include: replacing dated textures, fixtures, wallpaper, window coverings, faucets, general household repairs, etc.

Keep these items in mind when staging your home for resale, and you’ll enter the selling process with the confidence your home deserves!

Thanks for Reading.  If you or someone you know is thinking of selling take advantage of our spring buying or selling special.


Freshen Up Your House ‘Smell’

Apr - 10 | | no comments. | Blog, Bungalow, Karla Elcock, Lac du Bonnet, Pinawa Listings, pinawahomesfor sale, PowerviewPinefalls, Realtors

Prepping your house to put it up on the market can be a bit of a process, but putting in the time up front to freshen it up can pay off in the end. When a potential buyer comes through the front door, you want their first breath to smell like home (and full-asking price).

Done and Dusted

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the best way to freshen up your living area is to get rid of the dirt, right down to the dust particles.  A clean microfiber cloth – with a drop or two of lemon essential oil – will remove that nasty film from furniture, ceiling fans and door trim and brighten up the room with a fresh citrus scent.

Odor, Odor, Odor

The day before a showing avoid cooking any foods with strong odors such as onions, garlic and bacon – they can linger in the air and make your house smell like a fast food joint, not a family friendly dwelling that deserves top dollar.

Cookie Monsters

Go a step beyond skipping bacon for a couple days and get baking.  There’s a reason REALTORS® continue to use the old trick of popping in a batch of cookies to bake before a showing. It works.  If measuring cups and chocolate chips aren’t your thing, reach for an all natural soy wax vanilla scented candle.

Get Potted

Tap into the power of nature’s air purifiers, aka plants.   Not only does a selection of pretty potted houseplants lift an empty corner, but it also cleans the air.  Opt for a Boston fern, rubber plant or a peace lily – they all pack a powerful purification punch.

Paint On, Paint Off

When getting a house ready to sell, sometimes retouching the paint can’t be avoided – chips from moving furniture and thumb tack holes from discarded movie posters need to be fixed.

Fruit Bowl Fragrance

To make a fragrant DIY room spray, make sure to add vodka to your weekend shopping list.  Yes, you read that right.   Soak citrus rinds in the alcohol overnight (or longer) an then fill a spray bottle half with water and half with the lemony cocktail.  We promise it will smell like an orchard, not a bar.


Spotless windows let sunlight stream in to a space and help to show it off.  Avoid eye-catching streaks with a homemade spray using equal parts white vinegar and distilled water.  For a tough-on-grime cleaner, mix two tablespoons of Borax into three cups of water.  Apply to the mucky areas and then wipe clean.

Also, never underestimate the power of fresh air. Open the windows and let the breeze carry away odors, dust and stale air, and wow potential buyers with the freshness they find inside.

If you, or someone you know is thinking of moving, take advantage of our spring special.

6 Budgeting Tips to Help You Save for a Down Payment!

Apr - 06 | | no comments. | Blog, Karla Elcock, Pinawa Listings, pinawahomesfor sale, Pinawarealestate, Realtors, Residential


Saving enough cash for a down payment may seem impossible, but with planning and discipline you can make it happen. It might not be tomorrow, but owning your own home is something worth waiting for, working for and, perhaps, sacrificing a few expensive coffee drinks for as well. Here are a few tips to help you get started.

1. Track every dollar. Find out exactly where your money goes each month by keeping track of every single thing you purchase over 30 days. Review your card and bank statements carefully to categorize where you spent each dollar (e.g., entertainment, food, clothing). Sites like can also help you track and categorize spending.

2. Rate every purchase. Using the month of expenditures, rate each item or service you bought as a “want” or a “need.”

3. Set savings goals. Using your “needs” and “wants” list, determine where you can realistically cut spending. If it means that much, you don’t necessarily have to cut out Starbucks altogether, but reducing your trips will certainly help. Use the budget to set monthly and yearly savings goals.

4. Set aside funds. Create a separate savings account for your down payment. It’s not only easier to track, but blocking off the funds may make you think twice before dipping into that money for something other than your future home.

5. Save automatically. If you are paid through direct deposit, chances are you can split your paychecks into more than one account. Set up your new “down payment” savings account to take in a portion of your regular direct deposits. You can’t miss money you don’t see in the first place.

6. Maximize your returns. Once you have a bit of money saved, talk to a financial professional about other places you might invest it to get a bigger return than you would by keeping it in your savings account – perhaps a money market account or a certificate of deposit (CD).

When your down payment goal is in sight, find a Realtor who will help you take the next step in your home buying journey. Find a local RE/MAX agent who can help.

Biggest Mistake a Seller Can Make

Mar - 22 | | no comments. | Blog, Karla Elcock, Pinawa Listings, pinawahomesfor sale, Pinawarealestate, Realtors, Residential, Uncategorized

Most people that are thinking of selling, have already done some market research of their own.

Some people really want the input of their Realtor® on how to price their home and some people already know what they want or need.  The best possible scenario is for the Realtor® and the Seller to come up with a similar sale price that is based on current sales of comparable properties.  The worst thing that a Seller can do is base their decision solely by what is currently on the market.  Sellers also need to know how long these houses have actually been on the market.

The only way to properly set your selling price is by knowing what similar homes have sold for in your neighborhood.

Your Realtor® can provide you with a list of what homes like yours have sold for recently.  Sometimes there is a big gap between what your neighbors house was listed for and what it actually sold for.  This is usually the case of a house being priced too high for too long.  Believe me, you NEVER want this to happen to you when you are trying to sell your property.  It could cause your house to go ‘stale’, people will wonder what’s wrong with it, you might receive a ‘low ball’ offer that will probably be lower than if the house was just priced at market value to begin with.  It happens often.

In a small community, sometimes finding comparable houses that have recently sold is tricky.  However we can usually find some pretty good matches.  Maybe you don’t have a garage, like the house down the street that just sold, but you have a sunroom, or more square footage than the sold house with a garage.  That’s when you base your decision on how long that particular house was on the market (hopefully not too long) and what the SOLD price was.  Remember, the price that you remember your neighbors house being listed at could be a lot different than what it actually sold for.  It’s the SOLD price you need to know.

Sellers should also remember that just because a house sells quickly doesn’t mean it was underpriced.  Had you listed it for a higher price, it may have sat on the market for a lengthy period of time and that is never good.  Remember, Realtors® work on a commission, it is of no benefit to anybody to under price a property.   You hire someone for their expertise, you want me to sell your house, for the highest price, in the least amount of time, with the least amount of hassle….Right?  That’s usually what will happen if a house is properly priced and THAT is the common goal.  Your Realtor® has done her job.

Here’s what can happen if your home is over priced.  Like all new listings, in the first two weeks you will get several showings.  A lot of sellers get really excited with that, and they start thinking about their moving plans.  Some sellers even start looking at houses themselves.  If your home is overpriced, you may get a low ball offer, or no offer at all.  This is a disappointing feeling.  After a lot of showings, your agent may come to you and suggest you lower the price.  This is also a disappointing feeling, and instantly makes you feel like you’re losing money before you’ve even started negotiating an offer.

Eventually your house has sat on the market too long, you start feeling like your neighbors are talking about you.  The showings have dwindled, you are getting frustrated with your Realtor®.

All in all, the best thing to do is be realistic about your price right from the beginning.  Occasionally a particular home that IS priced right takes a little longer to sell.  Maybe the location isn’t prime, or maybe there is a lot of work to do to the house and even though the price is good, you need to find that special buyer, who is looking for a fixer upper.  It’s not ALWAYS price, but when a house doesn’t sell after 10 or 12 showings, there’s a reason and MOST times it’s because the property is what I like to say ‘optimistically’ priced.

Top Reasons a Home Doesn’t Sell

OverpricingLimited Showing Availability – If you turn down showings, it will hurt your sale.

Unpleasant Odors like cigarette smoke, animals or just a damp closed in smell – We go nose blind in our own homes, so if possible get someone you trust to tell you the truth, to check that out for you.

Clutter  When you are selling, kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms must be tidy and all  clutter and unnecessary items should be removed.

Unfinished Repairs –  If your home looks neglected even in the smallest ways it will be a turn off for buyers.  The goal is to have your house show in the best possible light.

For a FREE Market Evaluation with a breakdown of what properties like yours have SOLD for recently, call me.  I’ll be happy to do it.



7 Ways to Help Your Kids Transition into a New Home

Mar - 20 | | no comments. | Uncategorized

Article from RE/


Let’s face it, moving is hard for everyone — big moves bring up all sorts of feelings, from stress to uncertainty, and excitement. Luckily, there are a few actions you can take before the big day to help mitigate the negative reactions from the youngest members of your family.


Whether you’re hoping to stay in the same neighbourhood or move right across the country, inviting your kids into the house-selection process from the get-go can help. Ask them what they’d like in a new home and see if you can reach a consensus — a bigger back yard would be a win for everyone!


If your kids are old enough look at prospective homes with you, why not bring them along? Hearing their opinion on a property makes them feel involved and listened to. They may even think of something that you didn’t, like how the proximity to the baseball field is a major selling point for your little Major League hopeful.


Making a memory book filled with photos and doodads of the good times shared in your old home can help your kids find closure while still having something of the house to literally hold onto. Get friends and neighbours to sign the book along with their email addresses so everyone can keep in touch.


Before moving day arrives on the calendar, pencil in a farewell tour of all their favourite neighbourhood spots. Be warned: Seeing and saying goodbye to landmarks on your street may bring up all the feels…and not just theirs. Leaving a beloved home is hard but remind them (and yourself) that those precious memories go with them no matter where they are.


Having a chance to say a proper goodbye to the people that have been a big part of their lives — neighbours, babysitters and coaches — is an important part of the emotional process of moving. Throw a casual potluck and share some stories over a plate of samosas. (And when you get into your new digs, get out there and introduce yourself to new neighbours toute suite.)


Sometimes it may feel like the adults are making all the decisions (we are, sorry) and things are out of control. Getting the kids involved in picking out new furnishing and bedding for their room allows them to feel a sense of ownership of the new space. (Plus, that Star Wars duvet cover is super cool no matter how old you are.)


Packing up the kids’ rooms has the potential to be a less-than-peaceful process. Inject some fun into the functionality by getting them to create their own “Treasure Chest.” Pull out a packing box they can decorate with special markers and stickers and then fill with their favourite objects to keep close to them on the journey.

Uprooting can be hard on the littlest member of the family but having a handle on what can help will make that move go smoothly and you’ll all be settled in in no time.


7 Unexpected Spots in the Kitchen You Need to Clean Before a Showing

Feb - 21 | | no comments. | Blog, Karla Elcock, Pinawa Listings, pinawahomesfor sale, Pinawarealestate, Realtors, Residential

In the eyes of a buyer, the kitchen can make or break the potential of a property.  So, do what you can to make yours shine.  Beside giving your kitchen the usual scrub down, take some extra time to clean up these spots that we sometimes forget but the potential buyers won’t.



If the appliances are included, make sure they’re in tip top shape.  Scrub that stove so it shines, don’t forget to replace the under element pans.  Make sure the inside of your oven is nice and clean too.  People will open the door and take a look inside almost every time.


The Fridge

Inside, outside, over, under …the fridge is important.  Lookers almost always open the fridge if its’ included with the house.  Most of the time we’re a little frightened to look under the fridge but nows the time to be brave and really clean between the fridge, the counter and the floor.


Under The Sink

A whole array of people are about to come through your house, and while some may focus on your brilliant paint color choice, others will be making sure the under sink plumbing is in order.  So, wipe away the cobwebs, clean up the spray bottles, wipe down the whole inside, including the inside of the doors….especially if this is where your kitchen garbage can is.


Kitchen Taps

Get any gunk from around you kitchen faucet.  Use an old toothbrush to scrub it clean and then wipe everything down with Windex or rubbing alcohol to erase any fingerprints or residue.


The Most Dusty Place in the Kitchen

If you don’t have floor to ceiling cabinets, that gap between the top of the cupboards and the ceiling is primed for dust collection.  While you can’t see it easily from the floor, you may notice dust bunnies  on any of your décor up there.  This is one of those…Wow, I didn’t know it was dirty until I cleaned it spots.


Backsplash Grout

Ah, grout, the humble silent star of any backsplash….that is, until flecks of hot food fly at it or water gets splashed on it and mould begins to grow on it.  Bring it back to it’s former glory with a homemade baking soda and water past and spray bottle filled with a vinegar and water solution.


Handle the Cabinet Handles

Most of us don’t see even notice in our own homes…Cabinet Handles that need a cleaning. From greasy bakers hands to little jam smeared hands the whole family pulls, yanks and tugs at those bad boys all day long.  Give them a solid disinfecting wipe down before any potential buyers begin to check out your cabinets.  Maybe even a polish depending on what material they are.

It may take some extra time, but a little extra care to present the best side of your kitchen now can really pay off when the offer comes.

Great Advice to Sellers for 2017

Jan - 07 | | no comments. | Al Shrupka, Blog, Karla Elcock, Pinawa Listings, pinawahomesfor sale, Pinawarealestate, Realtors, Residential

Here is a really good article for sellers that I found on, written by Lisa Gordon

It’s a New Year!

People vow to do all kinds of things—hit the gym, get more sleep, quit Froot Loops—and if you plan to sell your home this year, making a few promises matter here most of all. After all, selling your home for top dollar takes work and the right mindset to strike a deal.

To help make that happen, we put together a list of good habits all home sellers should start now so that you’re fully prepared once opportunity knocks.

Vow No. 1: Get realistic about how much your home is worth

It’s natural to think your home is priceless, or hope it’s worth at least more than when you bought it. As such, many sellers make the epic mistake of placing a pie-in-the-sky price on their home with the hopes that some buyer somewhere will bite. But the reality is, overpriced homes tend to languish on the market.

In addition to setting their asking price too high, sellers are often stubborn about lowering it. Or they get offended when a buyer makes an offer below what they’d hoped to get.

Stop seeing these as insults. Instead, see them as a sign that the way you see your home may not be the way others do. For a reality check, ask your Realtor® to show you comparables on the recent sales prices of similar homes in your area.

Vow No. 2: Keep clutter from creeping in

No one wants to buy your clutter, or try to determine what the house looks like without it. So it’s crucial that you toss, donate, gift, or recycle anything you don’t love or use. This is also true for those hidden areas like your closets and cabinets. Yes, buyers will (nosily) poke their heads in these areas—and seeing a pile of half-folded clothes is a definite downer.

But even if you purged the clutter, it has a way of slowly sneaking back in, so you should develop some habits to keep it at bay. For instance, rather than let your mail pile up, vow to deal with it every day. For any paper statements or bills you receive regularly, sign up for electronic versions or autopay to stem the wave of papers flooding your mailbox to a trickle.

Vow No. 3: Banish bad smells

A simple truth: Even beautiful, well-priced homes won’t sell if they smell rank. It can be as subtle as the presence of pets, bathroom mildew, or last night’s broiled carp. Scented candles and sprays can mask smells, but it’s best to root out the source.

If the problem is pet urine, there are sprays that break down these molecules. If that doesn’t work, toss the rug or replace that section of flooring. If the offender is food odors, vow to take out the garbage more often and air out the house after cooking.

If the smell of mildew pervades your bathrooms, install a fan to vent the room, and leave the doors to your bathrooms open to get more air. You can also get a dehumidifier. To keep mold from growing, indoor humidity should linger 30% to 60%.

Vow No. 4: Keep your home show-ready 24/7

We know it’s hard to keep your place picture-perfect for buyers all the time, but it’s well worth the pain and suffering.

“Sellers might not want to spend the $500 on a deep cleaner or do it themselves, but a lot of times that will actually get you another few thousand dollars of selling power,” says Jason Shepherd, co-founder of Atlas Real Estate Group in Denver. Here’s what you can do:

  • Keep a Swiffer handy to quickly wipe up dust and stains from wood floors.
  • Clean your windows—they not only sparkle but also let in more light.
  • Even if you don’t want to spring for yet another new coat of paint, at least wash off wall marks and smudges. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser does a great job of removing wall blemishes.
  • Also, in case some buyer wants to swing by,  like, right now since they’re in the neighborhood, develop a five-minute cleanup plan. Keep a basket nearby where you can swipe the contents of your kitchen counter or anything else you want to vanish quickly.

Vow No. 5: Keep your personal items and styles to a minimum

You know those things that make a house your home—family pictures, artwork from your kids, souvenirs from the family trips? Stick ’em in a drawer or safely stored box. We know your home won’t feel so homey, but this step is essential to getting someone else to see themselves in your home.

“Buyers need to envision themselves in the home, and the very personal items can be a turnoff,” says Karin Jackson of William Raveis Real Estate. If you must, keep one or two personal items on your desk or nightstand that you can easily stash when people swing by. Consider it a small (and temporary) sacrifice to a great home sale.

Happy 2017

If you are thinking of selling, now is a great time, it’s been a busy winter for real estate in Pinawa.  In fact, I’m looking forward to seeing Mr. and Mrs. K on this sunny Saturday afternoon. Wish us luck!


A Pinawa Christmas Story

Nov - 27 | | no comments. | Al Shrupka, Blog, Karla Elcock, pinawahomesfor sale, Pinawarealestate, retireinpinawa


Once upon a time there was a picturesque, small town.  An idyllic little place tucked away in a forest and almost completely surrounded by a beautiful shoreline with clear, fish filled waters.  Many people loved to fish and swim and spend lazy days on their boats soaking up the sunshine.  There were plenty of things to do to keep the townsfolk busy in the other seasons as well, but besides all of that breathtaking, natural beauty, one of the best things about this little town were the people that lived there. 

Sounds like a fairy tale doesn’t it?  Like at any moment 7 little bearded guys will appear and begin to whistle while they work….on the Ironwood Trail.  Nevertheless, this is a true story. It’s the story of Pinawa, Manitoba, also known as The Little Town That Could.

I like to promote what I love and that is part of the reason why I love my job so much, I get to sell our beautiful Pinawa and help make others love it as much as I do.

This past Friday afternoon I met with a couple who are trying very hard to make Pinawa their home.  It’s taking some time, but we’re going to make it happen…because they also love Pinawa and they want our lifestyle.  They’re super friendly, they’ve already met some people here and they are going to be a wonderful addition.  While chatting with them, I invited them to come to Pinawa next weekend (Saturday, December 3rd) to attend the craft sale, watch the Santa Parade and be here for the town’s Christmas Tree lighting.  I started getting pretty excited…in fact, it was like I got hit with the Christmas spirit right then and there.  Up until that moment, I wasn’t really feeling it.  The new folks and I seemed to feed off each others  enthusiasm for all things Pinawawesome and as I drove away, I found myself smiling and I wanted to go home and bake Christmas cookies, or put up the tree!!  I also got to thinking how grateful I am…and how we all should be, for the group of young people who call themselves The Pinawa’s Christmas Committee.  Here’s where the ‘best things about this little town were the people that lived there’  part comes in.

From the day that this town was created, there has been amazing and wonderful people willing to give their time and energy to work together to make Pinawa even better!  Some of those people are still at it.  As years go on, the numbers tend to wane but there has always been an ebb and flow effect, and more people, either new to town or Pinawa kids that have grown up, step in to carry on the volunteer traditions.

The Pinawa Christmas Committee was started by a now grown up ‘Pinawa Kid’, Madison Backer, who has been a volunteering soul for as long as she’s been old enough to.  She comes by it honestly, she’s a third generation Pinawa Volunteer.  She rallied a group of young women together, a lot of them fairly new to Pinawa, and now we have a new group of dedicated Pinawanians who are giving of a lot of their free time working to make Christmas in Pinawa a magical time.  The committee is also working with other groups and their Christmas traditions so that together they enhance these already wonderful events and make them even more enjoyable for the whole community.  This is no simple feat, there are all kinds of things on the go.  Oh….and lets not forget New Years Eve.  The Thursday Night Hockey League is putting on a New Years Eve Social!  Now we can get together and bring in 2017 nice and close to home with our friends and neighbors.  The tickets are $20.  There will be a DJ and a Live Band, called the G Strings.  There will be a late lunch served, one big 50/50 draw and more.  To keep us all safe, there are volunteer designated drivers for the evening too.  Doesn’t get much better than that!




To our new soon to be Pinawanians….D and T, I hope you’re reading this and can make it next weekend to hang out with us in Pinawa.  Everyone will be so nice to you, the town will be all lit up and magical and I’m sure you’ll really enjoy yourselves. 

Thank you to everyone who spends their time volunteering in Pinawa! What a blessing it is to have some many ambassadors for our town.

And so…. Though the little town had faced many challenges over the years, the wonderful people faced them together with strength, fierce determination and the belief that anything is possible if they worked together.  The rewards of living there were infinite. There is no end to this story.       

believes-fb-header    Thanks for Reading.  K