To clean or not to clean

‘To Clean or Not To Clean’

Wouldn’t it be great if it were that simple. The real question is ‘do I clean myself or do I hire a cleaning company’. I will ask a few questions and offer my solutions.
1) Do you LOVE housework and does it helps you unwind from a busy day?
2) Do you DETEST housework and try to avoid it at all costs?
3) Are you somewhere in the middle? Most of us are in the middle.

When I hear women, say that they don’t have time for activities they enjoy, I say hire a cleaning company and ‘try it you might like it’. Get about 3 cleanings done before deciding if it is right for you or not because you go through a few different emotions over that time. At first it is a little hard because they don’t clean exactly like you do, but stick with it for a couple of more and 1) you will love it and wonder why you waited so long or 2) you hate it and want to keep the job for yourself. At least then you are making a decision based on your experience. Imagine having more time for family and friends.

When hiring a cleaning company always ask for and check references. Also ask if they are Bonded & Insured so that if they break or damage your ‘Ming Vase’ it is covered. Require that they be covered by W.S.I.B., in the event of an accident in your home they are covered and it is not your homeowner’s policy at risk. The other item of importance would be a valid police check.

Communicate with the company and you are more likely to get the service you want. With all this in place you will feel more secure.

Cleaning Tip: Cleaning or refreshing your microwave- place a wet sponge or wet dish cloth into the microwave and run it on high for 2 minutes, leave it inside for about 5 to 10 minutes, this creates a sauna like condition and when you open the door it is a breeze to clean.

I am the owner of Green Clean Plus in Almonte. Call me to see how I can be of service.

Maria Murphy is the Owner of a local cleaning company – Green Clean Plus.  She has a team of cleaners that she manages – and can be reached at 613- 461-0093 OR  She is very entrepreneurial, personable and trustworthy! Green Clean Plus

It’s not too early to buy or sell your home

And we are off to the races!

Members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board sold 667 residential properties in January through the Board’s Multiple Listing Service® system, compared with 598 in January 2016, an increase of 11.5 per cent. The five-year average for January sales is 614.

“The year is off to a great start, with sales up over this time last year, and well above the five-year average,” remarks Rick Eisert, President of the Ottawa Real Estate Board. “Residential-class resales supported this increase, with a 16.6 per cent growth over January 2016. The number of properties listed in January has doubled the amount listed in December, which is very typical of sellers getting a jump start on the spring selling season.”

January’s sales included 119 in the condominium property class, and 548 in the residential property class. The condominium property class includes any property, regardless of style (i.e. detached, semi-detached, apartment, townhouse, etc.), which is registered as a condominium, as well as properties which are co-operatives, life leases and timeshares. The residential property class includes all other residential properties.

“While the numbers indicate a positive trend for Ottawa as a whole, we emphasize that all real estate is local, and prices and conditions will vary from neighbourhood to neighbourhood,” explains Eisert. “We encourage buyers and sellers to talk to a REALTOR® for more information about the housing market outlook where they live, or want to live.”

“In the residential market the most active price point was the $300,000 to $399,999 range for the month of January, accounting for 35.2 per cent of the market. The condominium market was most active in the $150,000 to $249,999 price range, accounting for 58.7 per cent of the market,” says Eisert. “In addition to residential and condominium sales, OREB members assisted clients with renting 201 properties in January.”*

Locally, January was also a busy month – although more so in Carleton Place than in Almonte. CP saw a 12.5% increase in sales from 2016 to 2017, with 9 homes being sold compared to 8 last year. The average sales price is down by 10.2% – $298,346 in 2017 compared to $332,150 in 2016.  There were no sales in Almonte in January – so that just means February will be an amazing month!

If you are thinking of buying or selling in 2017, it’s not too early to start a conversation.  Give me a call – let’s have coffee and chat!

** The preceding information was taken from the Ottawa Real Estate Board website .

Not to early to buy or sell our home.

It is a great time to start thinking of buying or seeling your home.

Joanne’s visit to Black Tartan Kitchen

Out and About…


Carleton Place is home to a new restaurant, one that is sure to give The Heirloom Café in Almonte a run for it’s money! We recently had the opportunity for a “Friday night celebration” and decided to try The Black Tartan.

Located in Carleton Place at 132 Bridge Street in the former Saigon Delight – aka the only Vietnamese restaurant west of Kanata, Black Tartan opened late in 2016. They describe their food as “Contemporary Canadian” – and although the menu isn’t large, it offers a lovely variety from a vegetarian main, to a fish dish, duck, lamb or beef. We sampled three of the entrees on our night out and they were equally delicious.

We sampled two different starters – the French Onion Soup with a veal broth was out of this world, and the Escargot was unbelievable.  And because it was a celebration night, we felt compelled to try the dessert as well. The Crème Brule did not disappoint, and Mr. B was also happy with his choice. And because it was Friday night, it was fair game to also sample the wine. Not a huge variety, and I can be a little fussy with my wine, but again I was thrilled with our choice.

Welcome to Black Tartan in Carleton Place. It’s worth a drive out from the city to try this little restaurant. I would recommend reservations – not many tables – and don’t be surprised if Chef Ian delivers your dinner to the table, and then checks in later to see how you are enjoying it.

Welcome Black Tartan…  Now just need another occasion for a date night!Joanne Beaton visit Black Tartan Kitchen

An idea to for your next party

Client appreciation party

Client appreciation party!

I recently hosted a “Client Appreciation” party in our home in Almonte and while I love to entertain, I really needed to make this a “hands-off” party for me, so I looked local to see what services we have that I could make use of for my party. That’s when I found Anna Lianga and her company, Bouffage.

Bouffage is an obscure French word meaning “a satisfying meal” and to Anna this meal encompasses both food and family. Anna was raised in a close knit family in a creative and artistic community just outside of Perth, where everything was made from scratch and all vegetables came from either her parents or a neighbours garden. For Anna, the dinner tableis a place where the cook creates and shares their food and the guests get to share a little of themselves and everyone leaves a little fuller, both in body and spirit, thoroughly satisfied.fifteenyear in the restaurant industry.

Travelling has always been an integral part of Anna’s life and an inspiration for her cooking. She considers her Asian dishes, inspired from her two years teaching in Taiwan, as her favourite to cook and eat. Anna also attended George Brown College in Toronto in the Culinary Management program and has spent over fifteen years in the restaurant industry.

Throughout the years she has shared her passion for local/fresh and globally inspired cuisine with those around her; developing her own unique recipes and satisfying cravings with her creative and tasty dishes. Her versatility in the kitchen makes her very unique; from pot stickers to home-cured salmon, quinoa salad to jalapeno poppers, delectable cookies to artisan truffles, it’s hard to find something you don’t like.

Anna has finally settled in Almonte with her husband and two young daughters. When her youngest started kindergarten in September, Anna finally had the time to do what she has always wanted to do, start cooking for people. And thus, Bouffage Kitchen was born.

Interested in learning more about Anna or her services?  She is very versatile and has done various small intimate dinner parties, a vernissage for 60 people, a cold platter drop off for 100, heat and serve.

Anna can be reached on her cell at  (613) 601-1327 or emailed at  And don’t be afraid to tell her that I recommended her to you!

What you need to know if you sold your home in 2016.

Did you sell your home last year?

Did you sell your home last year?

What you need to know if you SOLD your home last year… (or if you will ever sell your home in the future!)

There are two changes that were made to Ontario’s real estate policies in 2016 which will affect the market in 2017 – and this is the perfect time of year to remind you about those.

Beginning January 1st, 2017, first-time homebuyers are now eligible to receive a refund of up to $4000 from the land transfer tax rebate (twice the previous refund of $2000 for new homebuyers). The increase in this rebate was designed to encourage more young people to make their first big purchase by reducing their closing costs and help them save money for their down payment.

You can read more about the First-time Homebuyer’s Land Transfer Rebate on the Ministry of Revenue Bulletin.

The second big change for 2017 comes from the Canada Revenue Agency, and affects something that many Canadians know little about: taxation on primary residences.

Most home sellers know that the gains of their sale are protected from taxation by the Primary Residence Exemption (PRE). Other properties, however, like vacation homes, or investment properties, are not primary residences, and therefore are not exempt. The CRA will soon make reporting every sale of a primary residence on your tax forms mandatory, whether you owe taxes on the property or not. A key thing to note is that foreign investors in Canadian real estate will now be forced to abide by Canadian tax rules, as will Canadians who often dodged paying tax on their primary residences in the past. (The sale of primary residences is NOT subject to tax; however, some individuals have attempt to have more than 1 primary residence at a time – a cottage? An investment property financed as if it is owner-occupied, etc.)

Starting with the 2016 tax year, (generally filed in April 2017), you will be required to report basic information (date of acquisition, proceeds of disposition and description of the property) on your income tax and benefit return when you sell your principal residence to claim the full principal residence exemption.  This change was designed to prevent foreign investors from “cheating the tax system”., as well as catching individuals who have made a practice of flipping houses.Untitled-6 copy