Lorenda Simms
Personal Real Estate Corporation

Sutton Group - West Coast Realty

Office 250-479-3333

Cell 250-217-5787

Email: lorendasimms@gmail.com

Throw open the windows and let the sunshine in — it’s springtime! Which means we’re getting our cleaning and dusting game on. Spring cleaning is an annual tradition, but even the most seasoned spring cleaning pros miss a spot or two. Here are some of the most common places you probably forgot to clean.

Read full post

Thanks to social media platforms like YouTube, Pinterest, TikTok, and Instagram, there’s an almost infinite amount of DIY inspiration out there. However, before you tackle that built-in bookcase or refresh your home with paint, you should know the DIY world is full of common—but thankfully avoidable—mistakes. To help you navigate your next DIY project, we spoke with three local home-owning DIY pros about the most common mistakes that are made.

Not doing enough research beforehand

When renovating her home, Tobie (@tobesgoesdiy) says she didn’t do enough research on installing tongue and groove laminate flooring and ended up installing it backwards. Similarly, in one of her first tiling projects, Dalyn (@humpjackhome) thought the bigger the tile, the faster the job. Instead, measuring and cutting the large tiles was more time consuming and ended up being more unforgiving than small tiles would have been. What may seem like a simple and straightforward task can quickly turn into a complex—not to mention, expensive—project if you haven’t done enough research.

Not investing in the right tools and materials

DIY can be a thrifty option, but one common mistake is not investing in the right tools and materials at the beginning. After painting her bathroom, Paisley (@thehomebodyden) says she found the use of cheap rollers and painter’s tape had led to paint seeping beneath the edges. Instead of crisp lines, she had an uneven finish requiring her to meticulously fix the lines with a brush.

While it can seem cost effective to make do with the tools you already have or to try and find the cheapest option, fixing the mistakes caused by subpar equipment will end up losing you time and money in the long run. Not having the right tools for more technical or potentially dangerous jobs, like hanging drywall, could even put you at risk of injury.

Not knowing how big the project is

Not every DIY project can be done over the weekend! Make sure you’re fully aware of how much work a project will be and that you’re ready to give it the time and effort it requires. Working too much for too long on one project can lead to burn out, diminish your excitement and commitment, and cause you to rush or make more mistakes along the way.

Not considering your home’s quirks

A common DIY mistake is not considering how your existing walls and ceilings could affect your project. From how your walls were painted originally to whether your ceiling sags, your home’s quirks could quickly derail your DIY.

“I wasn’t prepared to work with my existing walls and ceiling, which affected me while I was installing the kitchen,” Tobie says. “My cabinets were sitting too high to the low part of the ceiling and some of the doors wouldn’t open.”

She ended up having to spend a lot of time shifting everything down to leave a larger gap between the cupboard and ceiling.

While painting seems like an easy DIY (so long as you have the right equipment), Dalyn says to beware of oil paint, which is often used in old houses, as regular latex paint will peel right off of it.

Not having an overall vision for your space

If you’re doing a larger scale project, like a whole room redo, it’s much better to have an overall vision before you start buying materials or décor. In the past, Dalyn says she would replace certain things as needed, such as a bathroom vanity. Afterwards, when she was ready to tackle the rest of the room, instead of getting to fully embrace the style she dreamed of, she had to work with what was already there.

Not budgeting enough

Perhaps the biggest DIY mistake is not budgeting enough for a project. Surprise costs do arise and too many small one-off items sure add up (such as replacing that cheap tool you purchased thinking it would be OK). In Dalyn’s experience, DIY projects always end up costing more than you think they will, and suggests adding a cushion of at least 30% to your total estimated budget.

These six common DIY mistakes all lead to the same thing: lost time, wasted effort, and additional costs. Luckily, you can learn from those who have gone before and avoid most of these DIY mistakes through proper planning and attention to detail.



Source: https://www.realtor.ca/blog/6-common-diy-mistakes-you-can-avoid/25248/1367
Photo: pexels.com

Read full post

In recent years, it’s likely you’ve heard the media, your colleagues and even politicians speak about “inflation.”


You also may have noticed prices for regular everyday items including food, gas, or larger purchases such as homes, furniture and vehicles have risen sharply since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Up until a few months ago, when government officials and the media spoke about the current rise in inflation, they often defined it as “transitory”. Now, officials at the Bank of Canada are stating inflation may actually be more persistent, and have signaled the future path for Canadian interest rates may be a series of rate hikes to help bring inflation back down to within its target range of 1% to 3%. In fact, last month, the Bank of Canada announced that they would raise the policy rate from an all-time low of 0.25% to 0.5% and they are considering an end to their Quantitative Easing program.

What is inflation?

Before we get ahead of ourselves, I think it’s important we take a step back and understand what inflation is and how it can impact our daily lives.


Inflation is a persistent rise in the average price of goods and services over time—or the increase in the cost of living. It can also be looked at as a reduction in the purchasing power of your money; as the prices of goods and services rise, your money can afford less. Therefore, the level of inflation has a major effect on the overall Canadian economy.


Part of the Bank of Canada’s mandate is to keep inflation low, stable, and predictable. The target aims to keep the total Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rate at the 2% midpoint of the target range of 1% to 3% over a medium-term horizon. The Bank raises or lowers the policy interest rate as it deems appropriate by either raising it to control inflation or cutting it to help encourage spending and borrowing in economy. This was seen at the beginning of the pandemic to help support the Canadian economy devastated by pandemic-related lockdowns and monetary policy continues to remain accommodative.

How do we track inflation levels?

There are a few ways to track and measure levels of inflation in the economy, one being the CPI which is produced by Statistics Canada.


The CPI is calculated by comparing the cost of a fixed basket of goods and services purchased by consumers over time. The CPI is a widely used by government agencies and private organizations as an indicator of the change in the general level of prices experienced by Canadian consumers. The goods and services in the CPI basket are divided into eight major components: food, shelter, household operations, clothing/footwear, transportation, health/personal services, recreation & education/reading, and finally, alcoholic beverages.


There are various measures of CPI that Statistics Canada produces, some include the price of more volatile costs such as energy and food which can be influenced by changes in weather patterns and other factors. When setting monetary policy, the Bank of Canada looks past these volatile and sometimes transitory moves in total CPI inflation and tries to focus on more “core” measures of inflation that may better reflect underlying trends in inflation. There are three core inflation measures the Bank focuses on: CPI-trim, CPI-median and CPI-common.


When looking at the chart, we can see Total CPI is well-above the target range for the Bank of Canada while the measure for CPI-common is within the target range but looks to be rising quick. Lingering supply-chain effects from the pandemic as well as rapidly growing/changing geopolitical tensions across the globe continue to drive inflation higher and could stay well above the Bank of Canada’s target rate for the foreseeable future. This has forced the bank to raise rates earlier than they were forecasting, and they are now forecasting the beginning of a period of “quantitative tightening” to try to bring inflation back closer to 2%.

Inflation and housing

In terms of how the Canadian housing market has matched up against inflation over time, I conducted an analysis to see how average home prices compared to overall consumer price inflation from 1971-2021.


First, I deflated the Canadian residential average price to remove the consumer price inflation amount, giving us the “real” average home price. This calculation is simply taking the Canadian annual average price and dividing it by the CPI number for that year. I then looked at the compound average annual rate of change in home prices broken out by decade over the last 50 years. Unfortunately, these decades do not all line up perfectly with housing booms/busts, but they do a decent job. There are probably many ways to present this data, but I think the chart below helps to capture both home prices and inflation for a reasonable time period going back with some historical differences, all just in six bars! So, what you’re looking at, is the real average price growth for Canadian real estate (that is, over and above inflation) compounded at an annual average rate for each decade since the 1970’s.


The chart above shows how the growth rate has differed over the past 50 years, with healthy levels of real growth in the 1970s when inflation was high. There was decent growth in the 1980s owing to the housing boom in the second half of that decade and negative real price growth in the 1990s, when home prices were basically flat. The highest amount of growth in the 2000s when the market boomed, up until 2007. And finally, another period of strong growth in the 2010s, all backloaded in the years 2016-2020, with 2020 being the second largest year for price growth on record (after 2021).


Throughout the last 50 years, the overall real growth rate over time has been in the 2.5% to 3% range, showing that over time, real estate has generally been a safe long-term and reliable hedge against inflation. One caveat worth mentioning, is that because inflation has been relatively subdued over the last few decades, we haven’t had much inflation scares in which our central bank had to react strongly to. If the current rate of inflation were to persist above the Bank of Canada’s target range going forward, the upcoming rate tightening cycle which would be needed to control that inflation could seriously slow down the housing market from its currently elevated levels.


There are many reasons why home prices would grow faster than inflation over time outside of those cyclical ups and downs. Canadian housing markets are influenced by a multitude of factors, including population growth, demographic factors, employment growth, the rate of new housing being built, the type of new housing that is being built, speculation, zoning, density, physical/natural constraints—the list goes on.


Keep up to date on the latest interest rate changes, consumer confidence and more on CREAStats.ca.



Source: https://www.creacafe.ca/what-you-need-to-know-about-inflation-and-real-estate/
Photo: pexels.com

Read full post

When it comes to interior design, lighting is often an afterthought, and that seems a bit dull. In fact, it should be factored into the layout and décor scheme as early as possible! This is largely because when you’re outfitting a space, having proper lighting is a sure-fire way to add character and elevate its style.


With the right information, you can easily update a room’s lighting fixtures without breaking the bank or exerting too much effort. We’ve already shown you how to illuminate your home’s exterior, kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, and even those tricky underlit places. Now we share a guide on how to choose lighting for one of the most used spaces: the living room.

Read on for tips on finding the right type of light to fit your space’s purpose, style, and mood.

Pick a purpose

The first question you need to ask before you start picking out light fixtures is “why?” What are you trying to achieve with the lighting in your living room? Maybe you want to liven up the space with a little extra brightness, set a specific mood with ambient lighting, or simply want to add a statement piece of décor. Once you figure out the purpose lighting will serve in your living room, the rest of the process becomes easier.


A good idea when choosing lighting for your room is mapping out the intended layout and creating a blueprint of your current lighting. This will highlight where you have overhead fixtures, potlights, windows, and lamps so you can get a big-picture view of what’s already available to you. It can also help to take pictures of your space in the morning, afternoon, and evening so you know the areas hit with natural light and where you may need to make up the difference. This part also lets you know where you should, or should not, put things like a television or reading chair. Direct sunlight is great if you want to read a book in the afternoon, but not so great if you’re hoping to binge an entire season of something on Netflix!


Keep in mind, lighting doesn’t have to serve a singular purpose. It can be a multi-use fixture that adds to your room in more ways than one. For example, if you have a statement piece of artwork on your wall, using a spotlight or gallery lighting can call attention to this while also providing overall light for the room. Alternatively, you might not want pot lights shining directly down on you if the space will double as a home office, as this type of lighting is not the most flattering for people. 

Know your layers

You’ve likely heard the words ambient, accent, and task in descriptions about lighting. These are the three layers of light you should consider. Layered lighting is key in bringing dimension and balance to a room. 


Ambient, also known as general lighting, is what illuminates the overall room. Overhead lights are the most common fixtures for ambient/general lighting, but depending on the purpose of the room and your style preferences, you can opt for pendant or pot lights, ceiling fixtures, or chandeliers.


Accent, or decorative lighting, is what helps to create focal points in a room (typically this layer is brighter than ambient). Try directional spotlights, table lamps, wall sconces, picture lights, or LED track lights for under cabinets to brighten up underlit areas and place a focus on a specific object or furniture.


Finally, as its name indicates, task lighting is used to brighten spots where you perform certain tasks. Choose floor, desk, table, or sconce lamps for task-based lighting. If you’re using the lamp to read or perform activities that may cause eye strain, get a task light with LED bulbs–your retinas will thank you.

Find the right temperature

There’s more to bulb talk than LED and incandescent. First, you’ll need to determine how you want to feel in your living room. Your answer will help you figure out what colour temperature (measured in degrees Kelvin) you should try.


If you’re pining for soft, warm, and cozy, then you want a bulb with a colour temperature between 2,700K and 3,500K. This type of bulb will soften the atmosphere of the living room and make it more inviting.


For a brighter feel, try a bulb with 4,000K and 5,000K colour temperatures. This type of lighting works best for living rooms with neutral and cooler hues, like whites, greys, blues, and greens on the wall and furniture.


What if you want the “daylight” always radiating through your living room? Go for a full spectrum bulb between 5,000K­ and 6,500K. This type of lighting can be harsh, so it’s best to be used as a task light in areas of the living room where you do most of your work. When choosing the temperature of your light in one area, it’s important to consider the other rooms in your home. If you have an open floorplan where light from one room bleeds into another, try to stay consistent with the lighting colour—using cooler hues in the living room when the adjoining dining room uses warmer tones could appear disjointed. 


Lighting stores are a great resource when trying to decide what colour temperature to choose. They can make recommendations based on your flooring, paint colours, natural light, and overall feel of the space. Those pictures you took during the initial planning stages of your lighting scheme will be of great use here, too. 

Embrace the tech

Being able to control the level of lighting in your living room with the touch of a button is peak control. Whether it’s for aesthetics or functional reasons, installing dimmers can help set the mood, but it will also save you energy. You’ll just need to make sure the bulb you’re using can be dimmed.


You can also opt for Wi-Fi or Bluetooth-enabled smart lights. Once installed, you can control the lights with your phone or tablet from anywhere in and out of your home.


Whatever your purpose is for switching up the lighting in your home, you can find the style, fixture, bulbs, and tech to help you achieve your outcome. Adding lighting is not only a cost-effective way to make your living room look like it got a makeover, but it’s also a great tactic for staging a home. Strategically adding layers of light, including natural lighting, will help enhance key features of your home–and that’s appealing to more buyers if you’re in the market. If you’re ready to sell, but feel unsure about how to stage your space, you should get in touch with a REALTOR®.



Source: https://www.realtor.ca/blog/find-your-light-series-living-rooms/25133/1366
Photo: pexels.com

Read full post

Home sales have kicked off 2022 below 2021 levels, while price growth has continued to set records. This is consistent with strong demand meeting end-of-month inventory levels that are lower than they have ever been.
 
Along with the ongoing supply crisis, the other main factor expected to impact housing markets this year and next will be higher interest rates.
 
While discounted five-year mortgage rates have already begun to rise – a jump last spring followed by a steady upward trend since last October – and are now back above pre-COVID-19 levels, the Bank of Canada has only just announced its first quarter point hike in early March.
 
Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg Economics see the overnight rate ranging from 1.75% to 2.75% by the end of 2023. That said, given markets are currently pricing in 1.75% by the end of 2022, it is more likely to be the latter. That would make for nine Bank of Canada quarter-point rate hikes by the end of next year.
 
Having said that, it’s important to note Canadian borrowers must qualify for their mortgage loans at the stress test rate (currently set at 5.25%), which is currently somewhere in the range of 245 basis points above the typical discounted five-year rate.
 
The original intent of the stress test was a buffer of around 200 basis points, which is likely why the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) chose not to move the stress test rate following their December 2021 re-evaluation.
 
As such, recent higher market rates have not really made it any more difficult to qualify for a mortgage, and borrowers are still being stress tested at a very robust level.
 
Another wildcard are the housing policy changes announced in last year’s federal election campaign. Which of these will become policy in 2022 and beyond and how will these affect housing markets across Canada? The answers should become clearer when the Federal Budget is published later this spring.
 
Finally, to quote the Bank of Canada from their most recent policy announcement: “The unprovoked invasion of Ukraine by Russia is a major new source of uncertainty. Prices for oil and other commodities have risen sharply. This will add to inflation around the world, and negative impacts on confidence and new supply disruptions could weigh on global growth. Financial market volatility has increased. The situation remains fluid and we are following events closely.”
 
With all of that said, some 612,800 properties are forecast to trade hands via Canadian MLS® Systems in 2022 — a decline of 8.1% from 2021 but still the second-highest annual figure ever by a sizeable margin.
 
This projection is basically the same as it was in the December 2021 forecast, though under the surface, downward revisions to British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia offset a considerable upward revision to the sales forecast for Alberta, along with smaller upward revisions to Saskatchewan and Newfoundland & Labrador.
 
The national average home price is now forecast to rise by 14.3% on an annual basis to $786,000 in 2022. Not surprisingly, this is higher than the previous forecast, as prices have continued to set new records, reflecting the unprecedented imbalance of housing supply and demand. The number of months of inventory nationally was a record-low 1.6 in December 2021, and January and February 2022. The long-term average for that measure is a little over five months. It is quite possible the risk to this price forecast is still to the upside.
 
Home sales are forecast to remain historically strong in 2023 while continuing to move slowly back in the direction of the longer-term trend. Limited supply, higher prices and higher interest rates are expected to further tap the brakes on activity and price growth in 2023 compared to 2022, particularly in Canada’s most expensive markets.
 
National home sales are forecast to edge back a further 2.7% to 596,150 units in 2023 – still the third-best year on record. This easing trend is expected to play out most notably in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec. Alberta and Saskatchewan are forecast to buck the trend with moderate sales gains in 2023.
 
Other provinces are forecast to see fairly little change in sales between 2022 and 2023 as economic growth, population growth, and supportive demographic trends under the surface are counterbalanced by supply and affordability challenges.
 
The national average home price is forecast to rise by a modest 3.2% on an annual basis to just under $811,000 in 2023. While the $800,000 mark may seem an unlikely milestone to hit given where the market was just a couple of years ago, it should be noted that with the national average price having already surged (though likely only temporarily) to more than $816,000 in February 2022, this is a conservative forecast.
 
 
Source: https://www.creacafe.ca/home-sales-forecast-to-ease-but-remain-historically-strong-in-2022-2023/
Photo: pexels.com
Read full post

The greatest canvas in your home are the walls. And the paint colours you choose are one of the boldest ways you can put your personality on display. But with millions of colour permutations out there, how do you possibly narrow down your favourite shades? Why not start by perusing this list of top paint colours for 2022.


This year’s paint trends are all about serene, tranquil colours that bring nature indoors. They’re subtle, warm, and allow you to be versatile in your design—which means you’ll be able to put them in almost any room for a fresh, earthy atmosphere. And whether your aesthetic is modern, traditional, cottagecore or anything else, these top paint colours will seamlessly fit into your style.


Botanical greens 

Paint brands Benjamin Moore, PPG, Glidden, and Sherwin-Williams have all put forward earthy, natural greens as their top paint colours in 2022. Look for October Mist, Olive Sprig, Guacamole, and Evergreen Fog respectively and apply generously in your bedroom, living room, or kitchen for a harmonious and rejuvenating vibe.


These paint colours will pair well with floors and furniture in blonde and warm wood tones. Decorate with gold and black accents if you like sleek and modern, or for a more organic feel, embrace beige and camel. For your kitchen and bathroom, you can’t go wrong combining any of these botanical greens with white subway tile.

Thalassic blues

Graham & Brown and Behr are both on board for the blue paint trends in 2022, offering you refreshing hues in Breathe and Breezeway, reminiscent of sea glass and sea foam.


These soft blues are well suited to colour drenching, the practice of painting everything on the wall including trim and doors. They’ll be perfect for living rooms and home offices, bringing the outside in, like a breath of fresh ocean air.


Accent Breathe with deeper blues and mustard yellow and Breezeway with terra-cotta, pinks, and earthy tones likewhite, taupe, and soft brown. For a modern and sleek look, opt for a monochromatic palette. These shades will both pair well with natural textures and fabrics, such as leather, rattan and even reclaimed and rough, minimally treated wood.

Warm neutrals

Valspar’s Subtle Peach isn’t quite neutral, but it’s soft, subtle, and a beautiful colour perfect for intimate spaces. But don’t limit yourself to just closets and bedrooms for its use—it’s also perfectly suited to bathrooms and living rooms, especially if you want to feature a bold piece of art or a gallery wall. It blends well into the background and won’t steal any attention away from your showstopping décor.


Also in this category is Valspar’s Gilded Linen, a warm white that will suit open plan spaces, entries, and hallways. According to Valspar, Gilded Linen is an “ultra-clean neutral that organizes and connects spaces throughout the home.” They recommend it for minimalist décor, and to mix it with wood and greenery for a natural feel.

Paint trends for every personality

Whether you’re in the suburbs or the heart of the city, these top paint colours of 2022 will have you feeling like you’re surrounded by nature with wide open sky above you.


Green, blue, peach or white, these paint trends befit the rise in sustainable and eco-friendly living practices, combining harmoniously with reclaimed wood, natural textiles like cotton, jute, and rattan, and vintage furniture and décor elements. There’s simply nothing artificial feeling about these paint trends and depending on personal style, they can be matched with a variety of design aesthetics.


What’s most important is the top paint colours of 2022 promote flexibility so it’s your personality always shining through. 



Source: https://www.creacafe.ca/top-paint-colours-for-2022/
Photo: pexels.com

Read full post

Whether your clients are seeking to buy into a new house already built, a semicustom home as part of a development or a pure custom home built to their personal specifications, you’ll want to help them create a schedule that allows pertinent questions to be asked in advance for the builder and throughout the build process.


While new builds tend to be designed with modern living in mind, have the latest in technology and plumbing, electrical and efficiency systems, you want to steer your clients to reputable builders and include references from people who have bought their finished products.


“No matter what you are buying, it is always a case of buyer beware,” says Fox, who has been involved in every type of home build and sale over the past 30 years. “There is no such thing as a stupid question in this process. Ask everything you want to know and put it in writing.”

Determine the warranty and financial details

The warranty program for a new home will likely provide protection against defects, determine how fit the home is to live in, address construction practices and consider other aspects of the build, so it’s important that your clients understand what it does and does not cover.


Every province has a different warranty program, including Ontario, which along with the provinces of Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec, requires builders to provide home buyers with a third-party warranty.


Elsewhere in Canada, a home warranty is left up to the builder, although Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) members must offer one as a condition of membership. You can search for professionals on the CHBA website.


“You need to be aware – does my house have a warranty and is it enrolled in a warranty program and if not, why not?” Fox says. “Ask who is backing up the warranty program. And even if you are buying a resale, is the builder offering a warranty? You need to know what might happen if, say, there is a leak in the roof or a crack in foundation.” All these are important questions a REALTOR® should make sure their clients ask.


Another consideration for new construction home buyers in some provinces, like Ontario, Saskatchewan, British Columbia and Nova Scotia, is the provincial sales tax (such as the harmonized sales tax in Ontario). New home construction in these provinces are subject to this tax but a resale is not. Make sure your clients check to see if there is provincial sales tax and if it is built into the new home construction price. Your client may be eligible for the GST/HST New Housing Rebate.


You will also want to make sure your clients ask what protections there are for the deposit and who holds it. In Ontario for example, condo deposits are held by a solicitor and the builder in a trust account but for houses, the deposit can go right to the builder and he or she can use it to build the house.

Make a detailed schedule and checklist

Once your clients have covered basics such as securing financing, getting pre-approved for the buy, determining budget, knowing the taxes and having a general knowledge of detail items such as window treatments, it’s important that buyers and builders agree on a schedule where items can get checked off as they are completed, says Fox. There can be delays but having an agreed upon schedule is a great guideline.


What may seem like small details add up to the entirety of the build. For example, how many pot lights per square foot is the builder allowing? What are the appliances, what are the countertops, what are the baseboards and windows, what kind of garage door, what is the heating and cooling system?


“We are talking several pages, here, not a quick list that is five lines,” says Fox.


This schedule should also include a payment structure: what buyers need to pay and when. Often with new builds you are making payments in installments, but make sure this is all laid out ahead of time.

Buyers should also be aware that any upgraded features could mean upgrades in your payments. As their trusted advisor, you should be able to help decipher any confusing clauses in fine print.

Research the lot and the neighbourhood

When purchasing preconstruction, it’s important your clients look at what’s happening in the neighbourhood. If it’s a new subdivision, is a change in the demographic bringing more young families into it and, if so, are there provisions with the municipality for a new school—or does the existing school have enough capacity?


“Lots of times we see new subdivisions go up but there isn’t adequate public transportation or schooling,” says Fox.


If your client is buying an infill where an old house has been torn down for a new one, you want them to determine what’s on the lot environmentally. For example, old houses might have been on an oil heating system and you want to know if there is perhaps a buried oil or propane tank on the property.


“Even if an old pool has been filled in, you want the builder to warrant it, because it could impact your insurance later,” says Fox. “You want to determine things like, did they keep the old foundation or is it brand new?”


There can be other surprises along the way, such as restrictive covenants common in subdivisions, which can prevent residents from erecting, say, clothes lines or fences over a certain height.


It’s common to see a registered easement for electricity wires that run across the back of land, which means utility companies can have the right to cross your property, says Fox. So, if your clients want to build a pool, there could be easements that would prevent them from doing so.

Make sure there is an inspection

Vancouver REALTOR® and agent Ron Basra, of Re/Max Select Realty, has specialized in spec homes during his 25 years in the business.


He recommends to buyers that, aside from researching the builder’s reputation, they need to get a reputable inspector to ensure the job has been done right.


“When you do your research on the builder, see if they are just doing it part time and if she or he has any claims against them under the warranty program,” says Basra. “Look at previous homes the builder has built and, if you can, talk to homeowners who have purchased before you.”


In the end, buying new home construction is a considerably different process than with resale homes.


There can be delays, usually more money has to be paid up front (although new builds can have the advantage that a price can be locked in early) and warranties and any upgrades need to be well understood by the buyer.



Source: https://www.creacafe.ca/tips-for-helping-buyers-navigate-new-home-construction/
Photo: pexels.com

Read full post

Is the roof of your home in good condition? Don’t feel bad if you don’t know the answer—many homeowners are often unaware of the state of their roof. Out of sight, out of mind, right? Unless there are obvious damages, such as cracks or leaks, it’s easy to forget about this exterior part of your home.


Whether you’re buying, selling, or you’re a homeowner who simply wants to know how to keep your roof in good shape, you’ve come to the right place. Here are three of the most asked questions about roofs.


What are the different types of roofs?
Roof materials come in different forms­: metal/tin, asphalt, wood, cedar, slate, and clay are the most common types. With a plethora of options, it gets tricky when trying to choose the best option for your home and wallet. The type of roof installed on your home depends on a variety of factors such as location, environment, style, budget, building codes, and maintenance requirements. In Canada, asphalt, wood/cedar, and metal roofs are among the most popular.

Asphalt shingles

Life expectancy: 15 to 20 years (or more)


Pricing: $2 to $6 per square foot


Pros: There are a few types of asphalt shingles, but the two main varieties are basic or architectural, with architectural being the more durable of the two. Asphalt roofs are the most popular type of roof in Canada because of the material’s ability to withstand the damp and snowy weather. This type of roof is typically the most affordable of all the options. Additionally, asphalt shingles are relatively easy to install and repair, and they’re fire resistant. Asphalt shingles come in a variety of colours and styles (for example, fibreglass and organic asphalt), so it can be customized to fit any home’s exterior aesthetics.


Cons: Harsh Canadian winters can cause chips and cracks on the asphalt. The material is also prone to mildew and can incur granule loss if not properly maintained. Be prepared for repairs before the 15 years are up.

Wood or cedar shakes

Life expectancy: 35 to 50 years


Pricing: $8 to $15 per square foot


Pros: Wood or cedar shakes are extremely durable, not to mention resistant to harsh weather and insects. For these benefits and more, this type of roof can include a warranty of up to 50 years—depending, of course, on who you buy from. For homes in colder climate and heavy rainfall areas, wood or cedar shakes are an excellent choice because they prevent moisture buildup and they’re naturally insulating. 


Cons: In addition to high upfront costs, the material is not fire resistant (Class C rating), so you’ll need to apply additional treatment to get a Class A rating. Moss buildup can also occur on wood or cedar shakes if they’re not cleaned on schedule (usually every two to three years). Another con for wood or cedar shakes can be their appearance, as many people don’t find them as visually appealing as other materials. 

Metal

Life expectancy: 40 to 70 years


Pricing: $6 – $20 per square foot


Pros: Metal roofs, whether aluminum, tin, copper, zinc or steel, can offer unparalleled longevity. Unlike asphalt shingles, metal roofs require little to no maintenance. You may never have to repair or replace this type of roof, providing it’s properly installed. Metal roofs are great in high snowfall areas because the ice can easily slide off, reducing risk of collapse.


Cons: Metal roofs, because of their premium quality, are expensive. They cost slightly more than wood or cedar, and can be 10 times the price of asphalt shingles. They’re also prone to being noisy during some extreme weather conditions, especially if the installation, or your attic insulation,  isn’t top notch. On the curb appeal front, metal is not always favoured because it can be difficult to maintain colour consistency across the entire roof.

Adding solar panels to your roof

Certain provinces and municipalities offer incentives for energy efficiency, which can help offset the upfront cost of installing solar panels on your roof. The cost will ultimately vary depending on the size of your system and equipment you use, but on average, the price of solar power in Canada is $3.01 per Watt. Adding solar panels can help reduce your monthly energy bills, not to mention help lower your impact on the environment by using a renewable source of energy. Curious to find out if adding solar panels will affect your resale value? We’ve taken a look at whether that’s the case, or you can reach out to a local REALTOR® for their insight on what current trends are in your neighbourhood. 

What upkeep is required to maximize a roof’s life expectancy?

Keep it clear

Make sure your roof is always free of debris, including leaves, sticks, branches, and other naturally occurring particles that can, over time, contribute to the roof’s wear and tear. Make sure your roof is also mildew, mould, and moss free.

Don’t ignore the landscaping

If you have trees near your roof or shrubs close to your gutters, make sure to keep up with the landscaping. Falling branches and other parts can cause premature damage, while shrubs and bushes can block the gutters. Also, trees can make it easy for rodents to access the roof and make it their home, so it is important to keep branches trimmed.

Clean the gutters

Keep your gutters clog-free by getting them cleaned at least once a year. This will prevent water (from rain and snow) from pooling on your roof and causing damages.

Inspect regularly

Depending on the type of roof and warranty it comes with, you may need to get your roof checked annually. If you know what to look for, you can do it yourself, but it’s always best to leave it to the professionals with trained eyes and special tools.

How can you tell if your roof needs repair or replacing?

There are a few indicators something is wrong with your roof. It’s time to call a professional if you see:

  • water spots, streaks, or discolouration on ceilings and walls;
  • a sagging ceiling;
  • cracked or curled shingles;
  • decaying or paint peeling from eavestrough;
  • missing asphalt granules;
  • mould or moss growth;
  • spots without snow, which could indicate a leak; 
  • light coming through from outside;
  • damaged roof deck or flashing (the material that directs water away); or
  • loose roof tiles.


In many cases, the above issues can be easily fixed. Problems like leaks can be repaired by sealing the crack or replacing some shingles. However, you may want to consider replacing the roof altogether if the damage is extensive, if it’s more than 20 years old, or out of warranty. 


A roof replacement may be costly (between $4,700 and $25,000, according to Alpine Credits), but it could save your home from further structural damages and even more expensive repairs in the future. A new roof can also help increase the value of your home because of the safety and curb appeal it adds.


“Roofs are a big ticket item, and significant repairs or replacement count as a major renovation that will help increase the value of your home, similar to upgrading of the windows, furnace, etc.,” says Maniza Khan, a sales representative and REALTOR® with Ottawa-based Rasooli Real Estate Group. “You should take into account the age of the roof, the material used to build it, and what direction the house is facing.”



Source: https://www.realtor.ca/blog/over-your-head-what-to-know-about-roofs/24306/1363
Photo: pexels.com

Read full post

Most of our homes are works in progress – budget and time are two big factors, but our own design knowledge can also be a constraint. Fortunately, these timeless home-decor tips will show you how to improve your own interior-design skills to create a home that truly reflects who you are.

Read full post

If your home was built prior to the 1980s, it’s possible you’ve made a surprising discovery beneath your carpet, vinyl, or laminate flooring—a once-gorgeous hardwood floor. The prohibitive complexity and price of maintenance and repair prompted many homeowners, in previous decades, to cover them over with more cost-effective flooring options. Modern technology, along with DIY know-how, means breathing new life into an old hardwood floor is not only less costly, but a fine way to beautify your space and boost the value of your home.


Ripping up carpet

If you’ve just stumbled upon this exciting revelation or are curious to know if hardwood flooring is hiding in your home, our first article in this series focuses on how to properly remove carpet. We look at checking for hardwood floors without causing undue damage, as well as the steps you should follow to remove carpeting on your own and when to call a professional. 

If you’re ready for the next important steps to renewing a hardwood floor, let’s get started. 

Examine and analyze

Before you run off to the store with dreams of gleaming hardwood floors dancing in your head, remove all furniture and wash the floor thoroughly, then carefully examine every part of the floor to determine how to proceed. Remember, this floor can be more than 40 years old, and as old as Queen Victoria if you live in a century home. 

The key things to look out for are:

  • long or deep gouges;
  • rotten wood;
  • cracks and splits in the boards;
  • wide gaps between boards;
  • protruding nails (in case any were missed when removing your carpet);
  • the original wax finish; and
  • stains or deeply embedded dirt that doesn’t wash off.

If any of the above are present, you’ll have to perform some repair work, which could require fillers, sanding, refinishing, and possible board replacement, depending on the type and extent of wear and damage. On the other hand, if the deep clean reveals a floor with only superficial scratches and wear, you can count your lucky stars, because refinishing will be a much simpler task for you.

A simple refinish

Renewing hardwood flooring that no longer has the original wax finish, and no deep gouges or dents, may only require a wood floor renewal kit from your local hardware store to revive it to a luscious shine. Just bear in mind the polyurethane finish requires 24 hours to set, then seven to 14 days to cure—important factors if you have pets or young children. We’ll go over the steps involved with applying finish shortly.

Repairing hardwood flooring

A wood restoration kit will come in handy to address deep gouges in hardwood flooring. If you have squeaky floorboards, now is the perfect opportunity to hammer those down since you’re already in repair mode—unless you rely on this built-in security system for monitoring teenage past-curfew entries!

Where rotten, split, or cracked boards are concerned, replacing affected sections is the best solution. If you’re experienced with a circular saw, this is something you can handle on your own, but if you are unsure, then you may want to call a carpenter or flooring professional for these repairs. The key challenge is properly matching the colour and grain of the floorboards as best as possible, which can be difficult with some older floors. 

Sand the floor

Here’s where things get dusty, so don a respirator and safety goggles before starting. If you need to remove a layer of embedded dirt or the original wax finish, a belt or drum sander is key—just remember to remove any shoe base moulding and use a floor scraper or putty knife to double-check for any protruding nails before sanding.

Begin with a coarse sandpaper between 36 and 40 grit, and work your way gradually to a finer grit with each pass. Use 60 grit for your second sweep, then 100 grit to smooth the surface further. Remove any dust and debris by sweeping and vacuuming (with a shop vac, not your regular vacuum) between each pass, and use a floor edger or disc sander to get all the corners and edges for a uniform finish.

One final sanding step will help give your floor that professional look—use a floor buffer and fine-grit screening pad with broad sweeping motions to smooth any unevenness or sandpaper scratches. Give the floor another good sweep and vacuum, then use tack cloth to collect any remaining dust particles before applying stain or finish.

Stain and finish

If you’d like to re-stain or change the tone of the floor, now’s the time to select an interior wood stain based on the type of hardwood or desired colour. Work in smaller areas and systematically apply with foam applicators, removing any excess stain with a clean, cotton rag or paper towels.

If you don’t wish to use stain, apply a sanding sealer before finishing.

Once you’re finished with either of the above, you’re ready to apply the finishing coats. Oil or water-based polyurethane wood finishes are the most commonly used these days, with oil-based being the more advisable option as it is thicker and provides a smoother coat. Wood oils like teak, cedar, tung, and Danish, are also popular options. Always be mindful of fumes, wear a respirator, and ensure proper room ventilation. 

Using a lambswool roller or applicator, apply three coats of oil-based finish, or four coats of water-based, sanding lightly between each coat using an extra-fine 220-grit sandpaper or #000 steel wool. This scuffs the surface to allow for the next coat to properly adhere. Be sure to vacuum the dust up before applying the next coat.

Once the final finish has dried (at least 24 hours), replace the shoe guard moulding. Apply felt pads to the feet of all furniture, and limit traffic in the room for seven to 10 days, allowing the finish to fully cure.

Caution: Always hang dry oil-soaked rags thoroughly outside and away from any buildings or structures before disposing of them. Wet oily rags produce their own heat and present a serious fire hazard.


There’s no mistaking that even with a simple refinish, this can be a time-consuming undertaking, but the rewards make it worth the effort. What better conversation piece than a gleaming, beautifully-restored hand-finished hardwood floor? Of course, you may decide after reading this to leave this job to a professional, and that’s OK!! The end result is what’s most important, and as long as you’re happy with the outcome, that’s what matters most. 



Source: https://www.realtor.ca/blog/floor-renewal-part-two-how-to-give-new-life-to-old-hardwood-floors/24422/1367%204/1
Photo: pexels.com

Read full post

Industrial elements tend to appeal to those with minimalist tendencies—the sharp lines and functional philosophies of industrial design are a natural fit if you’re into clean, uncluttered spaces. However, antiseptic interiors aren’t to everyone’s tastes, and there’s no design law that says industrial interiors must equal sterility.

In October 2018, Living Room called industrial design a celebration of bricks and mortar. It’s a style that continues on in new condo and loft construction, though more likely features concrete along with high ceilings and exposed mechanicals.

Warming up an industrial space may be easier than you think, too. The walls, floors, and ceilings of any space are the blank canvas upon which you can paint your personality. Here are a few things to consider as you adapt your personal style to an industrial space.

Colour

Consider the bare brick walls of a vintage warehouse-turned-loft space. Right there, colour delivers warmth, though classic brick walls and are perhaps best classed as factory design–a bit of twist on industrial. It does illustrate how colour palettes can quickly transform design direction. 

Even if you’re working with the neutral tones of concrete or cinder block, large swaths of terra cotta, bare wood, sand, and other naturally warm earth tones make a significant modifier to an industrial setting. Don’t cover all the concrete, though. Ultimate Gray is still in vogue and is one of Pantene’s 2021 Colours of the Year. 

Texture

Steel, glass, and concrete textures are key to industrial design, and each of these tend to lean toward the smooth side of things. Contrast is a powerful tool in design, so adding heavily textured fabrics takes the sterility of an industrial space down a notch. Bonus points when you combine texture and colour to dial down the cool tone of structural components.

Fixtures and furnishings

Colour and texture will also serve you well when it’s time to furnish your industrial home. Consider the impact of a tight, modern black leather sofa versus a mid-century modern fabric version in period-appropriate colour. Both looks work, but the latter adds a warmer impact on the interior space. 

Lighting is another way to add warmth. Try an internet search for “vintage LED bulbs” and marvel at the options. Many of these bulbs fall on the warmer side of the lighting spectrum to give a classic incandescent look, but with contemporary energy efficiency. With a variety of shapes and styles, it’s easy for a bare bulb to shine on its own.

Cross-pollinate

Pure versions of design styles may not exist outside of show homes and design schools. Real living spaces are compromises of family, lifestyle, evolving taste, and the bustle of daily living. We appreciate you might not be thinking about design 24/7. 

Pairing industrial aspects with another design style is one way to alter your course without changing direction. If you like clutter-free, but find minimalism too severe, consider Japanese, Scandinavian, or their hybrid Japandi. Each of these styles retains a minimalist core, but with softer notes that invite comfort. 

Biophilic design elements bring nature and your senses into the same space, adding elements industrial alone doesn’t touch. Natural light, plants, and artwork that echo green spaces connect indoor and outdoor spaces while providing a calm and meditative organic presence. It’s a great way to invite positive vibes into your industrial styled home. 

Plenty of other design styles mesh well within industrial frameworks. Consider Bauhaus, Transitional, Bohemian or Eclectic designs. Upcycling and Shabby Chic can counter the naturally modernist feel endemic to industrial. 

It’s your space and your palette, so don’t be trapped by rigid definitions. Decide what “warm” means to you, and you’ll find a way to bring it to your industrial home! 



Source: https://www.realtor.ca/blog/how-to-use-d%C3%A9cor-to-add-warmth-to-an-industrial-space/24653/1366
Photos: pexels.com

Read full post

The COVID-19 pandemic has paved an unexpected path to homeownership for many young Canadians. Sure, mortgage rates fell to historically low rates, but a severe lack of supply and highly competitive sellers’ markets meant many Millennials and Gen Zers were left watching from the sidelines.


As restrictions loosened and life returned back to “normal”, demand for housing increased, pushing prices up in the process. As of November 2021, the average price for a home in Canada was $720,854, a 19.6% year-over-year increase according to data from the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).


So what exactly does homeownership currently look like for younger generations?


When it comes to where and how younger generations are choosing to live, it turns out they’re forced to be more practical. Austin D. Titus, real estate broker for Century 21® First Canadian Corp based in London, Ontario, explained while he hasn’t noticed “too much” change in terms of homeownership preferences, he has observed younger demographics are more flexible and understanding of what they can actually afford in current market conditions.


“Often, first-time home buyers or younger generations are less likely to feel comfortable doing renovations and want more of a move-in ready option. I would also say younger generations don’t want much yard work or maintenance,” explained Titus, who added condo living can be an attractive lifestyle for this generation of buyers.


Titus also said as a result of the pandemic, young buyers are looking for homes with additional office or outdoor spaces—a trend that wasn’t as popular before.


Regardless of age, getting into the housing market is a lengthy process requiring a lot of patience, time, and money. But understandably, it can be even more challenging for younger generations if they don’t have adequate savings to compete in today’s market.


Titus says he thinks it’s extremely difficult for younger generations to get into the housing market because they’re dealing with much higher housing prices compared to two or three years ago. Wages aren’t increasing at the same rate as inflation and there are high expectations of first-time home buyers from parents.


“Unfortunately, I also feel buyers are expecting their dream home as their first property,” explained Titus. “In our initial consultation, a lot of what is discussed is actually breaking down the barriers of expectations versus the reality of the market. Parents often put the expectations on their children of what is acceptable versus not in a home and it’s often my job to paint a very different picture.”

Current programs available to first-time home buyers and younger buyers

Purchasing a home can be both exciting and overwhelming. The Canadian government does have a number of financial programs in place to help Canadians during their home buying journey, including incentives for first-time buyers, tax credits, and rebates.


“There are options for the Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSP) program where buyers can take from their RRSP and use it as a portion of their down payment,” explained Titus. “This amount currently sits at $35,000, however you must repay it in a 15-year period.”


He also explained first-time home buyers who are permanent residents and Canadian citizens are able to use the land transfer tax rebate, which rebates up to $4,000 of the land transfer tax. 


“The $4,000 rebate caps at $368,000. Any amount over that, and you’re left paying the difference,” said Titus. 


There is also the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive, a shared-equity mortgage with the Government of Canada that offers 5% or 10% (depending on the type of home) of the home’s purchase price to put toward a down payment. There are stipulations, however, such as the borrower’s household income must be less than $120,000 a year ($150,000 if the home you are purchasing is in Toronto, Vancouver, or Victoria).

How parents are helping their kids

In today’s housing market, many younger buyers might find themselves struggling to afford a down payment and meet strict mortgage requirements. As a result, some assistance from parents has become increasingly common. Having the means to be able to help your children buy their first home is a luxury, ​but before you sign on the dotted line, consider the best way to do so. 


“Parents assisting their kids on the down payment wouldn’t have any tax implications for either party,” said Titus. “Co-signing on the mortgage where the parents would be equally responsible for the mortgage would have the largest impact when it comes to selling the property in the future.”


However, Titus says there are ways in which this can be avoided, and it’s best to have either a REALTOR®, accountant or lawyer advise you on the best route to take.


Parents assisting their children can also consider having a 1% ownership in the property, which would allow them to avoid taking high capital gains. But keep in mind, the first-time buyer incentive gets cut in half if there is a co-signer on the mortgage who already owns a property. 


If you’re a parent thinking of using the current RRSP program to help your child, parents aren’t eligible to do so. The current Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) allows you to withdraw funds from your RRSPs to buy or build a qualifying home for yourself or for a related person with a disability. However, the Canadian Real Estate Association has been advocating for changes to the HBP since 2017, allowing for “intergenerational use of RRSP funds by one child or more for the purchase of a home.” The goal is to help close the gap for young Canadians when it comes to homeownership.


So if you’ve been thinking about entering Canada’s housing market, meeting with a REALTOR® can help you get the answers you need when it comes to programs available and options that would best suit your lifestyle and budget.




Source: https://www.creacafe.ca/what-homeownership-looks-like-for-younger-generations/
Photo: pexels.com

Read full post

There’s a lot to consider when you decide to renovate. Aside from choosing the right tile for your new backsplash or the perfect shade of paint, you have to think about insurance. Though home insurance isn’t mandatory in Canada, most mortgage lenders require it before financing, and it can help protect your property and home contents against damages.


Canada’s home renovation sector is now an $80-billion market with a recent survey indicating that 27% of Canadian homeowners have renovated during the pandemic, and another 20% plan on tackling renovations in the near future.


While some renovations can be costly, they can help increase the value of a home. Regardless of the size of your renovation, it’s always important to consider how any improvement will affect your home insurance so you can ensure you don’t run into any implications or added costs.

What types of renovations affect your home insurance? 

Before you make any home improvements, there are a few things you’ll need to consider. Namely, planning your reno, deciding on a budget, and making sure you’re insured, because some upgrades will have varying effects. 


We spoke to Matthew Johnson, customer care manager with Sonnet Insurance, who said any changes that would impact the cost or the likelihood of a claim would typically impact your insurance rates. 


This includes renovations such as: 

  • Changes to square footage;
  • updates to your roofing;
  • changes or updates to the plumbing or wiring;
  • the addition of a fireplace;
  • building a new deck or outdoor feature like a pool; or
  • adding a home office or workshop for your own business, which could result in needing additional liability insurance.


Depending on the company, anything that changes the replacement cost of your home could impact your policy, so it’s important to check with your provider before starting any major renovations. It’s also important to look into home insurance upgrades when adding a rental space. As a landlord, you’ll have additional responsibilities on top of typical homeowner duties.

What types of renovations don’t affect your home insurance? 

On the other hand, most cosmetic changes won’t result in an impact to your insurance rates or coverage. According to Sonnet, updating your kitchen counters or cupboards, changing your flooring, renovating the walls to expand a room, or updating your bathroom are some examples that might not impact your insurance rates or eligibility.


Johnson said, “it’s important to note you should still inform your insurance company of these renovations even if you think they may not impact your insurance rates/coverage.”


We also spoke to Justin Thouin, co-founder of LowestRates.ca, who said while some aesthetic upgrades may increase replacement costs throughout your home, other maintenance upgrades are unlikely to have an impact. Thouin says this includes new paint or other touch ups, like on grout.

When do you need to inform your insurance broker about renovations/potential renovations to your home? 

You should inform your policy provider of any renovations being conducted (or potentially conducted) in your home before the work actually begins. This will help avoid any problems or increases to your insurance rate, and guarantee coverage still exists during construction. Depending on the type of renovation, you may also need to consider adding additional insurance for the duration of the work.


“If you’re doing a major project and you are going to have contractors and builders working on your property, you may be advised to add temporary liability insurance in the event of a worker injury,” said Thouin.


While the company you hire will have some form of insurance in place, it might not fully cover your responsibilities. 


Informing your provider prior to construction beings also helps protect you if anything is damaged during renovations, like if there was a flood, for example. Your provider will be aware, and your new finishes will be covered. What’s more, Thouin says if you’re going to be away from your property for 30 days or more, including because of renovations, you also need to notify your insurer as an extended absence could void your insurance policy. 


Be sure to read the fine print of your policy so you can fully understand your coverage. Of course, if you’re unsure, it’s best to reach out to your provider to discuss your options.


It’s also a good idea to speak with your REALTOR® before starting any major renovations to learn what’s currently trending in your neighbourhood, potentially earning you a better return on investment.




Source: https://www.creacafe.ca/can-housing-upgrades-affect-insurance/
Photo: pexels.com

Read full post

Investing in the exterior of your home is important. Not only can exterior home renovations like adding a new roof, windows, or doors add immediate benefits and curb appeal, they have the potential to increase the value of your home and give you a greater return on investment (ROI) when you decide to sell.


A 2021 Canadian Real Estate Renovation Trends report from RE/MAX, which used data collected by Leger marketing firm, said more than half of Canadians renovated their home during the pandemic for personal or “non-ROI” purposes. According to the report, 29% chose to renovate for non-essential “lifestyle” reasons, such as recreation-inspired projects, while 16% of Canadians renovated to increase the market value of their home to sell within in the next one to three years.


Similar to interior home renovations, not all exterior renovations are created equal, with some costing much more up front, while others are relatively more cost-effective. If budget is a concern, read on to learn about some of the most cost-effective exterior home renovations that could help increase your ROI when it comes time to sell.

Why is curb appeal important?

The way your home looks from the outside—or its curb appeal—gives potential home buyers their first impression of the property even before they step inside. This is why exterior renovations that help boost curb appeal are important, as the aesthetic look of a home’s exterior can give the buyer a sense of what they can expect to find once they walk through the front door. In other words, if your home presents itself well, the yard is nicely kept, the paint is vibrant, the siding is aging well, and the roof is in good shape, prospective buyers could be more inclined to look inside if they like what they see on the outside. 

What are the current trends in exterior renovations?

If you’ve been thinking about completing an exterior home renovation project this year, My Design Home Studio suggests while “farmhouse vibes are here to stay,” five other exterior design trends will gain popularity in 2022, including “a shift toward natural textures, a stronger connection to the outdoors, and a minimalist approach to architecture.”  

These trends are: 

  • Natural textures: Blonde woods, hand-sawn beams, and aged brick are popular, but you can recreate these looks at a lower cost with wood-like siding or stone-like accents.
  • Dark exteriors: Pairing lighter siding and brick with moodier blacks and charcoals is becoming a trend, so if you’re looking to sell soon it might be worth the investment now. 
  • Black accents: External features—like door handles, door frames, locks, shutters, etc.—are being swapped out for matte black instead of classic brass or silver. It’s a more modern look without requiring a total overhaul.
  • All-season outdoor entertaining: Adding a patio or deck to your yard can help increase curb appeal, especially when equipped for year-round usage. Covered areas for places with a lot of snow, or lounge areas with an outdoor fireplace (depending on your municipal bylaws) for places that remain relatively dry during the winter, are great additions to help extend patio season.
  • Natural light: Large panoramic windows that will flood your home with natural light are definitely a bigger investment than say, a door handle, but they’re a hot commodity as buyers are looking for homes with more natural light. 

Top exterior renovations to help your ROI

While trying the latest renovation trends is a great way to ensure your home fits the modern look, there are tried and trusted exterior renovations that are not only cost-effective, but also known to help increase a home’s ROI.


According to Alex Obradovich, a REALTOR® and sales representative with Chestnut Park® Real Estate Limited Brokerage in Toronto, the best cost-effective exterior renovations would be “functional over the cosmetic.”


“Taking a good look at what’s necessary to fix will be the most important when it comes to selling your home in the future,” explained Obradovich. “Common items may be drainage, grading, deteriorated items or heating/cooling efficiency problems like making sure windows and chimneys are sealed properly.”


However, once the functional exterior renovations are complete, Obradovich says cost-effective and cosmetic upgrades to improve your home would be painting and tidying up landscaping.


“Plus, both of those can be done yourself inexpensively,” he added.


Other things to look at would be your roof, garage door, front door (steel and fibreglass are becoming popular materials), and siding. The average cost to install an asphalt roof in Canada is around $4,750 (depending on the scale of the project), while replacing a double-car garage door can cost between $1,300 and $3,500. If you’re trying to stay on budget, you can also revamp your home’s exterior by swapping out old furnishings for newer pieces and adding potted plants and annual flowers for a pop of colour.


The best way to assess what your home needs is by enlisting the help of a REALTOR® who will be able to give you insights into what buyers are currently looking for in your neighbourhood and what renovations may help sell your home quicker—and for a better price.


Your REALTOR® can also provide you with contacts for roofers, painters, contractors, etc. to help you find the best person for the job.




Source: https://www.realtor.ca/blog/cost-effective-exterior-renovations-that-could-help-sell-your-home/24343/1362
Photo: pexels.com

Read full post

Blowing the budget is everyone’s biggest fear when it comes to home renovation projects. Even if you follow standard guidelines—like building in a 20% cushion to cover unexpected costs, vetting contractors, and staying focused—it’s hard to prevent spending more than you’d like to. But with some strategic planning, you can save money in the lead-up to your big remodel and cut costs without cutting corners. 

1. Figure out your priorities

We get it: You’re super excited to get into your new house, and you can’t wait to make it yours. But before you start envisioning walls coming down, scale down your big dreams, suggests Toronto financial counsellor Jessica Moorhouse, who is also host of the Mo’ Money Podcast. 


“Yes, there’s a long list of things you want to do to improve your property, but be patient,” she says. “Take your time and slowly save up so you can pay for the renovations in cash.”


Avoid taking on more debt by making a list of what must get done versus what you wish can get done, a strategy that paid off for Moorhouse, who bought a house four years ago and made improvements without borrowing more money.


“We’ve paid for everything in cash, living within our means and saving up for those renovations. It makes us feel good, because we didn’t have to worry about adding more debt onto our budget. That’s the best strategy.”

2. Take a closer look at your new home’s utilities

Instead of simply swapping your name onto the property’s current utility bill, shop around for a better deal. 


“See if another utility company can provide the same service for less money,” suggests Moorhouse. 


“Sometimes, it’s so chaotic when you settle into a new home, but don’t let your home insurance auto-renew without checking with different providers to see if you can get the same policy for a cheaper price; that could save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in the long run.” 


Other things you can probably get a better deal on include your internet, cable or satellite provider. 

3. Keep yourself accountable

Instead of focusing on cutting out your daily $7 latte, Moorhouse recommends tracking your spending and making a budget to see where all your money is going. 


“Look at every single line item and ask if it makes sense or if you get the same thing for less money,” she says. “Doing that–especially for monthly bills–is important, because if you can decrease those expenses, you’ll be saving much more money.”


One way to make sure you stick to the saving mindset? Plan a year ahead. 


“Don’t just decide to redo a room on a whim; sit down and ask yourselves, ‘What are we doing this year?’,” says Moorhouse.  


“I’ve got a whiteboard on my fridge outlining what we’d like to do in priority sequence. We know we won’t do reno number two until number one is paid in cash. Keep checking in with yourself about your financial plans.”

4. Out with the old, in with the not-so-new

Instead of paying full price for new furniture, appliances and decorative accessories, check out online marketplaces where you can buy or sell just about anything. 


“Our previous owners had put in a brand-new, but ugly stove that had never been used, so we sold it and used the proceeds to buy a new one,” recalls Moorhouse. “Something you don’t like may be exactly what someone else is looking for.”


You may also want to check with friends, neighbours and family to see if they’re purging things you might need. For example, repurposing someone’s kitchen cabinets or leftover construction materials can save big bucks. Or, purchase good quality second-hand furniture that can be transformed with a coat of paint, adds Moorhouse. 

5. Don’t forget about un-sexy home improvements, like maintenance

In addition to your budget for upgrades, set aside money for when things ultimately break down, cautions Moorhouse. 


“We bought a 12-year-old place and once we got the keys, things started breaking down: We had to replace our air conditioning unit, our boiler, our dishwasher and our fridge,” she recalls.


Although these purchases weren’t high on Moorhouse’s wish list, she knew going in to expect repair and maintenance costs, so the funds were there. 


“Depending on how old your house is, you need to set aside one to 2% of your home’s value for maintenance every year,” she suggests.


Your home inspection report can be a valuable tool; many inspectors include a range of fees associated with maintenance, repair and replacement costs. Keeping these tips in mind as you plan your renovation will save money and buy peace of mind.



Source: https://www.creacafe.ca/saving-for-a-renovation-tips-to-keep-homeowners-on-budget/
Photo: pexels.com

Read full post

Buying the perfect home is not as simple as it can look on TV. Buyers and sellers must first navigate the offer process, which can involve many steps and quick decisions. Here’s what first-time buyers and sellers can expect, and how your REALTOR® can help guide you throughout.


1) What must happen before you can make an offer?

Many renters think they can move on a house right away. But first, there are some things to take care of, says Katia Samson, a REALTOR® with RE/MAX L’ESPACE in Montreal.


“It’s very important to give your landlord notice three months before the end of the lease, because leases are usually renewed automatically every year,” explains Samson.


Next, get pre-approved for your mortgage unless you’re paying cash, she adds.


“Meet with a mortgage broker and provide all the required financial documents, so you can establish your budget and know what you can afford.”


Once that’s done, meet with REALTORS® to find a perfect match, explain what you’re looking for, and start an active search.


“REALTORS® have inside information about certain condo buildings and areas,” says Samson. “REALTORS® can also send you documents faster, such as the seller’s declaration, certificate of location, and any relevant financial documents.”

2) How is an offer drawn up?

When buyers are ready to make an offer on their chosen property, they must inform their REALTOR®, who will then advise the listing agent, says Samson.


“Otherwise, as soon as you walk out of a property, you don’t have to be informed if another offer comes in. This is especially important in this market, where we’re getting multiple offers,” she explains. “Your offer would include the price, the date of closing, and whether it’s conditional upon inspection (or other terms) and a review of documents.”

3) How long does the offer process take? 

Depending on whether yours is the only offer or if there are many other buyers interested, the entire offer process can be completed in as little as a day or take up to a week. 


“Right now, many properties are coming on the market with an established schedule for visits, offers, and deadlines,” says Samson.

4) What happens when there are multiple offers?

If you’re competing with other buyers, your REALTOR® might suggest being flexible with some conditions, and going in with your best offer. 


“It’s usually a one-shot thing: there are no negotiations when there are multiple offers,” adds Samson.


Some buyers write a letter to the sellers and include photos of themselves when there are multiple bids. 


“Some people like to know who they’re selling to because it’s not just financial, it’s also very emotional,” she says.

5) Are offers done in person or digitally?

First-time sellers might remember when they bought their home years ago and how everyone met in person to sign all legal documents; however, technology has changed that, says Samson.


“Everything is done electronically now and it’s so efficient,” says Samson. “All offers are emailed, and it’s very rare offers are presented in person to the listing agent.”


If the seller wants to counter-offer, negotiations will also be done digitally until both parties agree to terms, or someone decides to walk away. 

6) Should sellers accept the first offer that comes in?

Sellers shouldn’t feel pressure to respond quickly, says Samson.


“If I list a property and get an offer that’s valid for 24 or 48 hours, but I have a lot of interested clients and brokers, I’ll advise my seller to let that offer expire so everyone else can come in,” she says. “If someone’s really interested in your property, they’re going to wait; it’s in the seller’s best interest to allow about a week for those visits.”


Remember,  REALTORS® are trained to navigate the offer process from start to finish, helping both buyers and sellers meet their goals. Meet your home buying or selling MVP today if you’re ready for a move.




Source: https://www.realtor.ca/blog/6-things-to-know-about-the-offer-process/24562/1362
Photo: pexels.com

Read full post

Deciding whether or not it’s time to move—either across the country, province, or within the same city—is a difficult decision to make. Are you ready to uproot your life and leave your friends, family, and job behind? Are you ready to either sell your home, end your lease, or move out of your parents’ home for the first time? Regardless of your situation, deciding to move is a momentous life event and one that doesn’t often come easy.

If you’re unsure whether or not moving is the right call right now, read on to learn about some of the different reasons why people often choose to move to a new home.

Common reasons people choose to move  

There are, of course, the obvious reasons why you might consider moving. Perhaps you’re starting a family and you need a bigger home with a fenced-in backyard where the kiddos can play. Or, maybe all of your children have moved out and you’re ready to downsize. 

But other common reasons could be:

  • you’re growing tired of your commute to and from work; 
  • you have safety concerns in your neighbourhood;
  • you aren’t getting along with your neighbours; or 
  • you’ve received a job offer in a new city.  

To get a better understanding of why some homeowners have recently decided to move, we spoke to James Strathy Warren, a REALTOR® and salesperson for Chestnut Park Real Estate Ltd. Brokerage, who revealed some of the frequent themes he’s seen from his clients.

Future planning

Warren says a change in interest rates can be a factor. When people find out interest rates are going up, they’ll look at moving beforehand to lock in on a competitive mortgage to save money in the long run. Not everyone moves when the interest rates change, but it’s something that can trigger people to start assessing the market and whether they’re happy where they are. 

Bang for your buck

Finding a renovated house in a “move-up” market can be a big deciding factor for many people. Warren suggests this can be less expensive than finding a home that requires a substantial renovation, which is appealing to those who don’t want to go through the process.

“There’s also the time factor of a lengthy renovation as well as the associated costs,” he explained. “So, essentially you’re buying your new home at a slight discount.”

Market trends

For those looking to move up, Warren explained sometimes in a market that tends to pull back in price increases, the spread can be less between the sale price of their existing home and the one they’re purchasing. For people scaling down, such as empty nesters, when the market is moving up, it can be a great time to sell.

“It’s always good to try and time the market, this is very important for people moving up,” said Warren.

Time of year

When moving out of a home, Warren said historically, the best months to sell for the highest sale price are usually February and May.  

“February, because January is usually hit with snow and there is so little [on the market], so appetite gets pent up,” he explained. “May, because everything is geared to the school year and people want to settle prior to summer vacation and the beginning of the school year. Sometimes we do see a good market in late September and early October when there is generally less supply.”

How can a REALTOR® help you make your decision?

Ultimately, when it comes to deciding if you should move, it’s up to you and your family to make the call. A REALTOR® can guide you through the decision process to ensure you’re making the move for all the right reasons, providing current market trends and conditions, and asking the right questions to help you feel informed in your choice.


A REALTOR® can also share properties available in your price range and desired location; answer any questions you have about different local neighbourhoods and property values; and they can help you decide whether or not it’s the right time to buy based on the market.


Warren says being aware of the market and how homes are performing in the areas you’re considering is very important when it comes time to decide whether or not you should sell your home.


“I think to be successful in a purchase, or when you’re selling your home, you should view houses first and get an idea of the houses available to you and watch their movement—their days on market and their sale prices. If you’re comfortable, then jump in and buy first, but make sure your home is looking its best and well-priced before putting it on the market,” said Warren.


Working with a REALTOR® also gives you a better understanding of what’s happening in the market and if it’s the right time to make moves.


“It’s all about ‘reading the market’ and hopefully connecting the pieces of the puzzle,” added Warren.


While the prospect of moving might be daunting, there are different factors and indicators to help make your decision. If you’re thinking about embarking on a home buying journey, be sure to speak with a REALTOR® today.



Source: https://www.realtor.ca/blog/when-is-the-right-time-to-move/24677/1362
Photo: Pexels.com

Read full post

Picture the perfect cozy afternoon at home: what does it look like? If you’re envisioning a cozy reading nook, a warm blanket and a good book, then you’re in luck – from comfy bedroom reading nooks to elegant reading rooms to multi-functional spaces ideal for daily reading retreats, we’ve rounded up 10 reading nook ideas to inspire you.


Read full post

No matter what plants you have in your collection, they all have similar basic needs. Here's how to keep them in tip-top shape.


If you're a new plant parent, all of the care that goes into keeping your houseplants happy can feel a little overwhelming at first. However, most of your plants won't need constant attention to stay healthy. Other than remembering to water, there are plenty of easy-care houseplants that will only need a little maintenance a few times each year. When you need to step in and do some pruning or snip away a few leaves that are starting to turn yellow, these tips will give you the knowledge you need to care for your plants with confidence.

1. Watering Your Houseplants

All houseplants have slightly different watering requirements, depending on how they're grown and changes in plant growth through the seasons. It's best to water on an as-needed basis rather than by a set calendar schedule. In general, plants grown in well-drained soil in an appropriate-size container should be watered when the top 1/2 to 1 inch of soil feels dry. Cacti and succulents need less water; flowering plants usually need slightly more. Overwatering is one of the most common causes of houseplant death. If you're not sure how much to water, it's better to err on the dry side than to give your plants too much moisture.

2. Fertilize Houseplants Periodically

Like watering, there's not an easy rule to know how much to fertilize: It depends on the plant's growth rate and age, and the time of year. Most houseplants put on a growth spurt in spring and summer, so this is the best time to fertilize them. During the short days of fall and winter, most houseplants don't need much, if any, fertilizer. Follow label directions to know how much plant food to use.

Like overwatering, it's important to avoid overfertilizing your houseplants. Too much fertilizer can burn their roots and stunt their growth. For flowering varieties, use a fertilizer in which the three numbers on the label (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, respectively) are relatively equal. If the nitrogen content is too high, the plant may grow a lot of leaves, but few flowers.

3. Propagate Houseplants When Needed

Several types of houseplants benefit from being propagated by division or other methods once in a while. It helps to rejuvenate an overgrown plant and encourage fresh growth. Plus, it's an inexpensive way to get more plants out of the ones you already have.

Some houseplants, such as bromeliads, send up new shoots at the base of the plant or offsets, which you can divide and put into new pots. Climbing houseplants such as philodendron and pothos form new roots where their stems come into contact with soil, so they're good candidates for starting new plants from cuttings. And you can root new African violets from a single leaf; just put the stem end in a bit of water for a couple of weeks.

Other houseplants, such as spider plant and strawberry begonia, reproduce by sending out runners with new plantlets at the end. It's super simple to root these to start new plants; usually, you just need to soak the base of the plantlets in water for a few days to help them develop roots, and then you can plant them in soil.

4. Repot Overgrown Houseplants

Not sure if your houseplants need repotting? Check the root systems. If the roots are circling the inside of the container, it may be time to repot the plant. If the plant has outgrown its pot, you can transplant it into a slightly larger container. If you'd like to keep it in the same pot, trim off some of the roots with a sharp knife and replant it into the container using fresh potting soil.

As you repot your houseplants, it's also a good time to divide those with multiple stems to create new plants. Spring and summer are the best seasons for repotting your houseplants.

5. Remove Dust From Plants

Almost all houseplants look better with regular cleaning. Dust collects on leaves, so wash them with a gentle shower of room-temperature water or dust them with a soft brush if the plants have hairy leaves (which can hold onto moisture and encourage disease). For plants with smooth leaves, you can also use a cloth to gently wipe away any dust that collects on leaves. Not only does this improve your plant's appearance, but it'll actually help it to soak up more light.

6. Prune and Pinch Back Houseplants

You can prune any time of the year, but fall is a natural time to break out your pruning scissors ($13, The Home Depot) after a summer of growth. The main reasons for pruning houseplants are to make them look better and keep them from getting too large. Similar to propagating, cutting overgrown houseplants back to 4 to 6 inches tall helps rejuvenate them. This technique is effective in encouraging new growth for trailing plants such as Swedish ivy and pothos that may have become bare at their bases. Try to make your cuts just above a set of buds or side shoots on a stem you want to cut back. These are where the new growth will start. Also, remove any dead or diseased leaves and stems to help prevent the problem from spreading.

Pinching means removing stem tips, either with your fingernails or pruners. Pinch out the tip of a stem and the topmost leaves to encourage the growth of side buds. Plants that grow rapidly often look best with frequent pinching to keep them compact and fuller.

7. Deadhead Flowers and Remove Dying Leaves

Trim faded flowers from your plants to encourage more blooms and help prevent disease problems. While you're at it, be sure to remove yellow, brown, or withered leaves. Use a narrow-blade hand pruner ($11, The Home Depot) or sharp scissors to make a clean cut without tearing the plant's stem. It's a good idea to wipe off the blades of your pruners with rubbing alcohol before moving on to a different plant to avoid spreading any pests and diseases.

8. Control Insect Pests

Several insects commonly attack houseplants. Insecticidal soap ($6, The Home Depot) is an easy-to-use, effective treatment for most soft-bodied pests such as aphids and spider mites. A forceful spray of water from the hose helps knock down the population of these pests, too. Rubbing alcohol is effective on insects with waxy coatings such as scale and mealybugs; dab it on with a cotton ball.

No matter what treatment you use, be consistent. For fast-reproducing pests such as aphids and spider mites, you may need to treat plants once a week for a month or so to be rid of the pests

Fungus gnats are tiny black flies that buzz around the soil, and a common houseplant pest, though they're often confused with fruit flies. You typically see fungus gnats in large numbers when plants are overwatered. Allow the soil surface to dry between waterings and make sure to clear away any dead leaves on the soil surface. In extreme cases, you may want to try repotting your plant into fresh soil and a clean container.

9. Watch for Houseplant Diseases

Remove and destroy diseased houseplants or affected leaves or stems as they develop to prevent the spread of the disease. Some diseases spread by insects, so keeping the insect population in check helps prevent these problems. A few common houseplant diseases to keep an eye out for include powdery mildew (looks like powdery white spots on leaves), fungal leaf spots (can be yellow, brown, or black spots on leaves), and root rot (mushy, dark-colored roots usually caused by overwatering).

 
 
 Source: https://www.bhg.com/gardening/houseplants/care/houseplant-care-guide/
Read full post

For our older loved ones, there comes a time when they may no longer be able to live on their own at home. In these cases, family members could find themselves dealing with the sale of a property they have not legally inherited while their relative transitions into an assisted-living facility or senior community.

So, what exactly does the process of selling your older relative’s home entail, whether it’s your grandparent or mother or father?

Magda Zecevic, a REALTOR®, Toronto-based master accredited senior agent, and salesperson with Royal LePage Signature, walks us through the important steps of selling a home for an aging or ailing relative.

Recruit the right REALTOR®

Before you sign your listing agreement, there are a few important steps to take when selling a property for a senior or ailing homeowner. This starts with hiring a REALTOR® who specializes in these types of real estate transactions.

You may want to consider working with a REALTOR® who is qualified as a Master Accredited Senior Agent (ASA). A professional who has this accreditation has received specialist training and can provide specific resources and services to assist seniors with their real estate needs, from handling paperwork to recommendations for living accommodations.

“You have to know a lot more than just a regular real estate agent,” said Zecevic. “It’s not just about ‘OK, we’re going to move a few things, get rid of some furniture, fix it up, get a stager, and put up the house for sale.’ You really have to look at what’s in the best interest of the client.”

Zecevic explains there’s no simple, straightforward solution when it comes to working with elderly homeowners​—every senior has a unique set of circumstances with their finances, health, family, and property that requires expert attention.

“You might have to roll your sleeves up because you might be dealing with a senior that has no family at all and they’re very scared, nervous, and vulne

Get all parties involved

At the start of the selling process, Zecevic says she likes to meet with the client and their family to see if they’re of the same mind and intentions, and to determine what their goals are for the sale of the home. This is also an opportunity to decide what the next step will be for the senior and what living needs they may have. 

You may also take this time to check for wills, powers of attorney, lawyers, and review where the money from the sale of the property is going, such as towards the expenses of long-term care. In cases where there’s a lot of stress or conflict between family members, you might start the selling process by hiring a counsellor to alleviate tensions and set the groundwork for a successful sale. 

When selling a property, it’s common to declutter your space and either sell or throw out possessions. In the case of a senior seller where some valuable or sentimental items may be expected to be left to someone, it’s crucial to review and document these pieces ahead of preparing the property for sale.

“If a senior is still OK, they might will an antique dish set or some other possessions to a certain person. You don’t really know,” said Zecevic. “If they’re cognitively not there, you really need to make sure everybody is on the same page, because let’s say you get rid of a dresser and you sell it and they’ve left it to one of their children, then there could be an argument.”

Prepare both the home and the seller

Putting a home on the market is a stressful event for any homeowner, but it can be especially difficult for vulnerable seniors or ailing relatives. 

In some cases, Zecevic explains it may be more beneficial to move the senior out prior to the home being listed. If repairs are needed on the property or people are coming over to assist with packing, Zecevic says she’s present with the senior seller so they’re not nervous with strangers coming and going from the house. 

You might be tempted to completely stage and renovate the property prior to listing it. Zecevic explains the priority should be to ensure the property is clean and free of any garbage, with some repairs and touch-ups made on the property where needed, like painting or removing damaged carpet. 

“I wouldn’t do any big, big staging and stuff,” she said. “If there’s something that needs to be repaired, again, it might not be worth fixing and just selling it as it is. It depends. [It matters] how the family and senior are involved.”

Take your time with offers

In today’s competitive housing market where there’s a shortage of supply, it doesn’t take long for purchase offers and hopeful buyers to quickly come knocking on your door. When working with a senior homeowner, however, the pace of the offer phase may be different than the norm.

Zecevic says she sees her senior clients in person during the daytime, making sure the offer allows for a couple of days for the client’s lawyer to ensure everything is above board. In some cases, an offer presentation date provides some control over the pace and process of how offers are received and reviewed. 

“It doesn’t matter whether it’s busy and there are 20 people waiting,” she said. “It doesn’t matter [because] my priority will be strictly the client and what’s in their best interest. If they’re cognitively available, I would sit with them and explain each one.”

When it comes to the process of selling a senior’s home, Zecevic emphasizes it’s important to ask your REALTOR® about their knowledge of senior accommodations where the client may live after the sale is complete.

If you’re starting the process of selling the home of an aging or ailing relative, consult the advice of a REALTOR® in your area.


Source: https://www.realtor.ca/blog/how-to-put-a-home-up-for-sale-for-an-aging-or-ailing-relative/23788/1362
Photo: Pexels.com

Read full post
MLS® property information is provided under copyright© by the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board and Victoria Real Estate Board. The information is from sources deemed reliable, but should not be relied upon without independent verification.