happy houses: Don’t Forget To Get What You Want - 11/13/15 10:44 PM
Shopping for a new home can be a dizzying experience. There are so many things to think about, it’s all too easy to lose focus on the most important consideration of all: getting the home you really want. Here are five questions to keep front-of-mind:
Is it located in the neighbourhood I want? Where a property is located can have a dramatic impact on how much you enjoy it. Make sure the neighbourhood has the characteristics you’re looking for.
Does it have the look I want? Looks aren’t everything, but they are important. A good looking property, inside and out, can make living … (0 comments)

happy houses: 15 Minutes Before a Viewing - 11/11/15 12:09 AM
When preparing your house for a viewing, you’re obviously going to make sure it’s clean and tidy. After all, you want to make the best impression possible on potential buyers. But in the minutes before the buyers are due to arrive, there are a few final touches you need to do in your house to ensure it looks its best.
Put away coats, hats and shoes. Focus around the foyer. You don’t want clutter to be the first thing a buyer sees.
Turn on all lights and lamps. Don’t forget darker areas like nooks and corners. A house that is bright looks more … (1 comments)

happy houses: The Benefits of a Less-Than-Perfect Home - 11/10/15 09:19 AM
Do you have a clear image of your perfect dream home? Have you made a list of all the features it must have? Will you walk away from a property that doesn’t have huge mature trees in the back yard, or a wrap-around deck, or a large country-style kitchen, or comfy sunken living room? (Or all of the above?)
It’s okay to have a wish list of features that you want in a home. In fact, it’s a very good idea. It will make shopping that much easier. Plus, you’ll increase the chances of finding a property you like.
But it’s also important … (2 comments)

happy houses: Don’t Be a Victim of Home Improvement Scams - 10/05/15 11:46 AM
There are lots of reputable home improvement businesses that rely upon “person-to-person” marketing to get new customers.
Unfortunately, there are also some undesirable contractors whose plan is to relieve you of your possessions and/or money while performing substandard, overpriced services that are void of any guarantee. Below is a short list of uninvited proposals you may encounter. Always remember that if you didn’t ask the sales representative or contractor to come to your home, you should exercise caution when providing personal information or access to your home.
Painters, window cleaners, carpet cleaners, etc. Lawn and yard care services Roofing and other repair … (2 comments)

happy houses: What To Expect During a Home Inspection - 09/18/15 09:41 PM
A home inspection is a vital part of the buying process.
It protects you from unknowingly purchasing a house that has serious deficiencies – and thereby turning what was initially a dream home into a nightmare.
So what actually happens during a home inspection? Here are a few snapshots of what to expect.
There is no quick way to properly inspect a house. A thorough examination by a qualified home inspector will take at least two hours, and possibly longer. Don’t just wait around. Accompany the home inspector during the examination. Expect the inspector to check the house inside and out, top to … (2 comments)

happy houses: Foody Thursday - Eggplant Towers - 10/16/14 06:22 AM
Excellent appetizer, could be prepared in advance and refrigerated or served right away.

1. Cut eggplants into circles, add salt and set aside for 30 min, grill or fry in oil. Transfer into marinade
2. Marinade: 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, 1 tbsp honey. Set aside for a couple hours
3. Built your towers by alternating the circles of eggplant, tomatoes and mozarella. Decorate with fresh basilic. I had no basilic on hand - so parsley it is!
4. Add salt, pepper and some left over marinade
5. Enjoy!
Compliments of Marina Gavrylyuk
Real Estate Agent with Sutton Group … (4 comments)

happy houses: Foody Thursday - "Berry Baskets" Pastries - Корзинки (Korzynky) - 09/25/14 10:02 AM
Now sure about present time, but about 25 years ago you could buy this treat at every bakery department or store in Ukraine. They were about double the size compared to mine, no fresh berries, mixture of jam and grated nuts at the bottom and a mountain of whipped egg whites on top. Used to cost 22 kopijkas (small change in Ukraine). The name was "Korzynky" or "Koshychky" which is essencially "Baskets" in Ukrainian. Well, I have the commercial recipe, which I will share along with some changes we decided to make. Enjoy!

For the tartlets:
1 cup of sugar
3 egg … (3 comments)

happy houses: Foody Thursday - Spicy Appetizer "Korean Carrots" - 09/19/14 08:51 AM
Don't ask me why this appetizer is called "Korean Carrots". I've been told numerous times in the past that it has nothing to do with Korean cuisine. One of the key ingredients here is corriander  - perhaps this is how the name was made up. But if you are not concerned with the name - just dig in!

We will need a special grater for the carrots - I brought mine from Ukraine and I think it is about 500 years old. The idea is to grate carrots into long skinny pieces - like spagetti. 1. Grate 1 kg carrots … (3 comments)

happy houses: Foody Thursday - Oatmeal and Sour-cream Bread - 09/12/14 07:40 AM
I just realized I never shared any of my numerous bread recipes! This one is a nice variation from traditional bread maker recipes. Oatmeal and Sour-Cream bread raises nicely, not too dry, soft and white. Give it a try!

Bread flour - 3 cups
Oatmeal flakes - 1/2 cup
Salt - 1.5 tsp
Sugar - 2 tbsp
Sour-Cream 20% or Cream - 1/2 cup
Water - 1.5 cup
Sunflower oil - 3 tbsp
Just place all the ingredients into a bread-maker mold. And add 1.7 tsp dry yeast into a yeast dispenser
Basic Mode
Size - XL
Light Crust Enjoy!
Compliments of Marina Gavrylyuk
Real Estate Agent with Sutton … (1 comments)

happy houses: Foody Thursday - Apple Charlotte - 09/08/14 09:26 AM
If something is not easy - you are doing it wrong! Here is another "fool proof" recipe. Let me know if you manage to mess it up - I will have to add you to my red book of extinct species!
Here we go - Apple Charlotte!

1. Wash, core and slice 5 medium size apples.
2. Prepare the butter - just toss all the ingredients into a large bowl and mix well
6 eggs
2 cups of sugar
1/2 cup sunflower or vegatable oil
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups flour 3. Line pie sheet with parchment 4. Arrange apple slices and sprinkle with cinnamon 5. … (2 comments)

happy houses: Foody Thursday - Ukrainian Doughnuts - Пампушки - 08/29/14 08:43 AM
Yes, those are the ones my son was making and selling to get some cash for his new bike. We got tons of compliments and tons of recipe requests. So, here it is, so simple - 13-year old who never cooks can make it!

This is traditional Ukrainian treat, often made with different fillings - nuts, preserves, raisins. But we will start with the plain ones
The recipe is for 10 large pampushki:
1. Mix 1/2 cup of warm milk(30 C) and 1/2 warm water, add 2 tsp dry yeast, 4 tsb sugar, 4 tsp flour. Leave in a warm spot … (4 comments)

happy houses: Foody Thursday - "Syrna Zapikanka" - Ukrainian Cheese Casserole - 08/13/14 10:26 PM
I used to hate cottage cheese as a kid. And my Grandma used to say that if I don't eat it I would never grow and my bones would be all weak. See what happens here? I am almost 6 feet tall and I never broke a bone in my life. And now, like 30 years later I don't mind cottage cheese.

We will need:
1 kg soft dry cottage cheese - tvorog
1 cup sugar
2 packages vanilla sugar
4 eggs (save 1 yolk)
1 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp melted butter
raisins / dry apricots  / dry cranberries (optional)
1 cup flour
1. Press cottage cheese … (3 comments)

happy houses: 5 Tips for Pleasant Home Shopping Experience - 08/12/14 11:00 PM
This is a quick "5 Tips" list all my buyers receive when we go home shopping for the first time. Some of the things seem pretty obvious, but are still worth mentioning just one more time!

1. 5 Homes Tip. Do not try to see more then 5 homes at a time! I know you are a super hero, but by the time you see house #4 you will be quite exhausted. This Rule does not apply to out of town shoppers - they will have to shop till they drop.
2. Must Wear Socks on the Playground Tip. Most of … (2 comments)

happy houses: Foody Thursday - "Syrnyk" Ukrainian Style Cheesecake - 08/10/14 04:18 AM
This delicious open pie with cheese is both easy and cheap to make, you won't need any crazy ingredients, well, except for the cottage cheese. Made with soft dry cottage cheese, Syrnyk can be seen quite often at weddings and other large parties.

For the crust:
250 gr butter
1 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp cocoa powder
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
3 cups flour
1. Melt butter, let it cool, add eggs and sugar, mix well
2. In a separate bowl mix flour, cocoa and soda.
3. Add both mixtures and mix well to form soft dough.
4. Now there are two ways you could go with the chocolate … (1 comments)

happy houses: Foody Thursday - "Rushnychok" Ukrainian Poppy Seed Roll - 07/10/14 01:12 AM
This is my Mom's favorite treat, and today is her B-Day! It would be just a shame not to bake it for her. Happy Birthday, Mom!
"Rushnyk" or "Rushnychok" is essentially a towel, but a very special kind. It is only used for special occasions and rituals, embroidered and decorated, and is considered to be the safeguard for the family, being passed from generation to generation. It takes a tremendous amount of time and patience to make a Rushnyk. The special bread we are making today is called "Rushnychok" since it is decorated to resemble Rushnyk. Hope you enjoy it!

I … (1 comments)

happy houses: Foody Thursday - Apple Puffs - 07/03/14 02:51 AM
One more kiddy-friendly recipe and also perfect for upcoming apple season. Very easy to make, almost impossible to mess it up. Enjoy!

For the dough:
100 gr butter
2 tbsp sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
200 gr (1 cup and a half) flour

1. Butter beat with sugar until smooth
2. Add eggs
3. Add baking powder mixed with flour
4. Knead into dough, roll out about 5mm thick 5. Cut into squares  - the size will depend on the size of the apples. Squares have to be big enough to enclose an apple quarter 6. Place quarter appple in the middle of each square, sprinkle with … (1 comments)

happy houses: How Plants Are Having Sex in Your Garden - 06/11/14 04:59 AM
I am always looking for useful tips and tricks to make my garden look better. Just came across this one today - it is funny, easy to understand and FUNNY again :)

How to choose the soil to plant your flowers?
How to water?
What tools do you need?
What plants to choose?
It is all here!
More for your lovely garden:
How to build Wild Life Pond
More on Home Value
Realtor.CA - Did You Know?
Home Appraisal - Why is it Important to Know Your Home Market Value
Real Estate Bubble, and how Buyers Make It Happen
More Tips for Home Buyer
Offer Presentation In Person
Pros and Cons of … (1 comments)

happy houses: Offer Presentation In Person - 05/20/14 03:19 AM
It is not uncommon this days for the offer to be faxed, or more often e-mailed to the listing agent. In my firm belief this not just shows the poor presentation of the buyer client bt might create complications in the offer negotiation process.

Real estate transaction is not an event but rather the process of negotiation involving The Seller, represented by listing agent and The Buyer, represented by the buyer agent.
The success of the transaction will greatly depend on the success of the offer negotiation.
As I mentioned earlier, I am a believer in the old school offer negotiation, meaning … (0 comments)

happy houses: Real Estate Bubble, and how Buyers Make It Happen - 02/12/14 05:11 AM
I am looking for a small bungalow in Alderwood area for one of the clients and the situation on the market reminds an old high school joke:
-  Do you date anyone?
- No
- Ok, then I won't date you either...
But then when someone is "wanted", he/she is "wanted" by everyone.

Property 1 - listed for $499 900, 5 offers, sells for $585 200!!!! "as is" condition - read - falling apart
Property 2 - listed for $489 900, 14 offers, sells for $562 700, again "as is" condition, slightly flooded and smelling accordingly
Please, note that this is an area of old bungalows, … (1 comments)