Lorenda Simms
Personal Real Estate Corporation

Sutton Group - West Coast Realty

Office 250-479-3333

Cell 250-217-5787

Email: lorendasimms@gmail.com

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

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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/
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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
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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/
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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
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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
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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.


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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/
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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
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Home renovations should, first and foremost, improve your home and make it a more enjoyable place to live. But, before taking on any home improvement project, you should consider the return you will get on your investment. This is especially true if you're getting ready to sell your home in the near future.


No project recoups all the money you dump into it, but some come close. Let's look at some of the most common home projects and what you can expect back after you invest your time and money.


No Increase in Value From Maintenance
First, keep in mind the difference between home improvements and home maintenance. Replacing your old, broken-down furnace does not increase your home's value. It just makes it possible to sell the home.


However, installing dual-pane windows to increase heating efficiency does add value because buyers can perceive the benefit they'll receive from that improvement in lower heating costs.


Top Exterior and Interior Improvements
Every year, Remodeling Magazine releases a cost vs. value report that examines remodeling costs and the resulting increase in home value at resale to determine which projects offer the best return on investment. Among 22 home improvement projects in the 2020 report, seven out of 10 of the best-returning jobs nationwide involved the exterior of the home.


  • The best-performing project was a manufactured stone veneer, which returned an average of 95.6%. The average cost was $9,357, and the average gain in home value was $8,943.
  • In second place was replacing a garage door, which had an average cost of $3,695 and an average increase in home value of $3,491, for a return of 94.5%.
  • The highest-ranked interior remodeling job was a minor kitchen remodel in a midrange home, which returned an average of 77.6% after costing $23,452 and increasing value by $18,206.
  • A vinyl window replacement was the next highest-returning interior remodel, with an average cost of $17,641 and a return of $12,761 (72.3%).1

Paint Colors
The colors you choose to paint your home inside and out can make a difference in its resale value. Painting goes above and beyond routine maintenance. It increases or decreases visual appeal to buyers and so can result in a higher or lower offer.


The Zillow paint color analysis looked at the effect various paint color choices in different locations throughout the house had on the actual sale price of the home when compared to its estimated value.


The analysis drew some surprising conclusions. For instance, a black front door increased the sale price of a typical U.S. home by 2.9%, while pinkish taupe was the best color for a living room, increasing the home price by 1.3%. A losing color for the kitchen is brick or barn red, which dropped the price of a home by $2,310.2


Kitchens and Bathrooms
Many long-time homeowners feel they must refresh their kitchen and bathrooms before selling if they've remained the same for many years. These jobs, though, seem to pay off more in pride for the homeowners while they're still living there than they do in return on value at resale, especially when it comes to expensive homes.

According to the cost vs. value report, a bathroom remodel in a midrange home returned only 64% on the average investment of $21,377. For an upscale home, the return was even worse: 56.6%, based on an average cost of $67,106.


A similar pattern emerged with kitchens: A major kitchen remodel in a midrange home returned 58.6% on an average investment of $68,490. A major remodel in an upscale home was the worst of the four projects. Its return on investment was 53.9% on average after a typical project cost of $135,547.1


The real value in those types of remodels is the enjoyment you get out of them. If you're not planning to stay long, you may want to think twice about a kitchen or bathroom remodel.



Source: https://www.thebalance.com/repairs-before-home-selling-return-rewards-1799066

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With an entire new year ahead of you, decluttering your home may not seem so hard. But after January, when that new year energy begins to wane, the prospect of tackling such a big project tends to overwhelm.


Enter this month-by-month guide to clearing the clutter from every room of your house. I’ve zeroed in on areas of the home that I find fit with certain events, such as back-to-school or spring fashion, but feel free to reorganize as you see fit to tackle specific areas of your home that need attention sooner.


No matter what, by the end of the year, your home should be feeling more spacious and, perhaps more important, you should be feeling more capable of maintaining a clutter-free space.


Getting Started: Turbocharge Your Decluttering


If you’re feeling inspired and motivated by the new year, take advantage of that energy and spend a few weekends clearing clutter throughout the house. Making noticeable headway will help motivate you to keep up the decluttering effort in the coming months. Try to get the other members of your household onboard — but if they are not interested, don’t try to force it. Hopefully they will see the positive changes happening around the house and change their tune!


Habit to cultivate: Keep an empty reusable bin in a closet, and use it to corral items you plan to give away.


January: Kitchen and Pantry

Give yourself a fresh start for the new year with a clean kitchen, decluttered cabinets and a healthy pantry and fridge.

  • Toss worn dish towels or cut them up to make rags
  • Sell or give away specialty small appliances and tools you seldom or never use
  • Recycle or toss freebie cups and Tupperware containers without lids
  • Toss expired food and spices
  • Take stock of cookware and dishes; give away or sell pieces you do not need

Habit to cultivate: Clean out the pantry and fridge each week before shopping.


February: Home Office — Digital Documents and Papers

Get a jump-start on tax time by getting your files (paper and digital) in order.

  • Sort through random stacks of paper; file, shred or recycle everything
  • Streamline your files, shredding any documents you no longer need
  • Use one calendar to keep track of all events
  • Switch to paperless bills and statements if possible
  • Clean out computer files and back up everything, using cloud-based storage and an external drive

Habit to cultivate: Sort your mail at the door, tossing junk immediately into a recycling bin.


March: Clothes and Accessories

The seasonal transition is a good time to sort through clothing. Sort through winter clothes before storing, and pare back spring and summer clothes as you begin to wear them.

  • Donate or sell clothes, shoes and accessories in good condition
  • Have winter clothes laundered or dry-cleaned before storing until next year
  • Try on all clothes for the upcoming season and give away or sell any items that do not make you feel good

Habit to cultivate: As soon as you wear something and notice it doesn’t fit, has a hole or doesn’t flatter you, toss it in a bag in your closet. When the bag is full, donate it.

April: Bath and Beauty Products and Medicine Cabinets

Give your daily routine a spring cleaning by sorting through all of those bottles and jars hiding in medicine cabinets, on counters and in drawers.

  • Toss expired makeup and skin-care items, as well as anything you do not use or like
  • Clean drawers and shelves before returning items
  • Store heat- and moisture-sensitive items (medications and some skin-care products) away from the bathroom

Habit to cultivate: Keep a list of your favorite bath and beauty products and order them online rather than shopping in person. This helps avoid overshopping and impulse purchases.


May: Laundry Room, Linen Closet, Cleaning Supplies

Cleaning routines are much easier and more pleasant when the supplies you need are neat and orderly. Sheets, towels and other household linens do not last forever — go through them this month and make some space.

  • Recycle worn-out and stained towels, washcloths, sheets and tea towels at a textile recycling center.
  • If your child has graduated a bed size, donate the old bedding to charity
  • Clean under sinks and in any cupboards where cleaning supplies are stored. Get rid of empty containers and products you tried but did not like

Habit to cultivate: Don’t downgrade old towels and sheets to “guest” status. Only keep linens you would personally want to use — get rid of the rest. Your guests deserve better!


June: Family Room, Playroom, Media, Art and Schoolwork

The end of the school year is a good time to review collected artwork and school papers, and choose a small number of special pieces to save in a portfolio or document box.

  • Edit schoolwork and art from the past year
  • Gather a bag of DVDs, books and CDs to give away or sell
  • Sort through toys and games; get rid of those your family no longer enjoys, as well as anything missing key pieces

Habit to cultivate: At the beginning of each school year, pick up a simple art portfolio. When your child brings work home, enjoy all of it for a while, but choose only a few special pieces to put in the portfolio.


July: Yard, Shed, Garage and Tools

Being outdoors in midsummer makes this a good time to get outdoor tools and equipment in order.

  • Get rid of broken tools and those you no longer need
  • Sort through gardening supplies
  • Toss worn-out outdoor furnishings and decor
  • If you’ve been collecting items to sell, hold a yard sale this month. At the end of the day, take unsold items to a charity donation center

Habit to cultivate: Keep everything in your garage or shed on shelving, not on the floor. This helps prevent accumulating a pileup of junk and keeps your gear cleaner.


August: Photos

Photos seem to be one of the most problematic items for many people to keep organized. Use the lazy days of August to sort through old photos and make books or prints from new ones.

  • Choose a few favorite photos from this year and have them framed
  • Edit digital photos and back up using a cloud service as well as an external drive
  • Make a photo album or book from recent photos
  • Sort through any bins of loose photos and put them in acid-free photo boxes or simple albums

Habit to cultivate: Take a few extra moments to tag favorite digital photos each time you upload. Then when it’s time to print or make an album, you can go straight to your favorites.


September: Mudroom, Entrances and Junk Drawers

Embrace the back-to-school spirit (whether or not you have kids) by getting the busiest zones of your house clutter-free this month.

  • Put away stray items in entrances that belong elsewhere
  • Add extra hooks or shelves if you need them to help corral items
  • Sort through junk drawers, baskets, trays and any other spots that accumulate random junk
  • Invest in drawer organizers or a wall-mounted organizer to keep small items neat

Habit to cultivate: Do an end-of-day tidy-up of the entryway, putting shoes, coats and random items back where they belong.


October: Dining Room and Entertaining Supplies

With the big holidays coming up over the next few months, October is a good time to get ahead of the curve and sort out your entertaining arsenal.

  • Get rid of worn-out and stained tablecloths, placemats and napkins
  • Count your dinnerware and serving pieces and consider whether you have enough, too much or too little for the amount you entertain
  • Get rid of decor, table linens and serving pieces that you don’t like or that no longer fit your lifestyle

Habit to cultivate: Just like creating a wardrobe with lots of pieces that work together, think of creating an entertaining wardrobe that you can mix and match, rather than having lots of distinct sets of dishes.


November: Hobbies and Crafts

Get ready for holiday crafting and gift wrapping by clearing out your stash and organizing supplies this month.

  • Clean out gift-wrapping supplies, tossing empty tape dispensers, out-of-ink pens and shreds of gift wrap and ribbon
  • Downsize your craft stash by donating spare fabric scraps, yarn, scrapbooking paper and other materials — many organizations (schools, retirement centers and the like) are happy to accept donations of craft supplies, and there are even some craft-specific donation centers, like Scrap in San Francisco
  • Keep works in progress together in bags, bins or boxes

Habit to cultivate: Take the time to put away your craft supplies neatly when you are done working. A messy stash makes it more likely you will buy something you already have simply because you couldn’t find it!


December: Holiday Items and Decor

With so much going on around the holidays, it’s wise not to expect too much of yourself when it comes to clutter-clearing. That said, with all of the new gifts coming in, it does make sense to do some paring back to preserve balance in the house.

  • Give away holiday ornaments and decor that you did not use this year, or that you no longer love
  • Toss broken ornaments and recycle strands of lights that no longer work
  • Exchange or give away gifts you received but know you will never use, and do not like — don’t keep things out of guilt. The one exception to this rule may be hand-knit sweaters. The knitter will never forgive you; that’s just how it is.

Habit to cultivate: Tell friends and family who ask (in advance of the holidays) that you and your family would prefer gifts that are experiential or edible. Most people honestly want to give you something you will like, and are happy for the guidance.



Source: https://www.houzz.com/magazine/your-clutter-clearing-plan-for-the-new-year-stsetivw-vs~58173213?fbclid=IwAR0ayzzfRwewG3IXSCv7ORuxSklrNRjOPltHI6_3IYi2P85jr1OLuvv1q5k

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Winterizing your home creates a cozy space, lowers energy bills, and prevents damage such as broken eavestroughs or a cracked foundation. The following steps can be completed in a weekend—and all for less than $180.


Check that your rain gutter spouts are pointing away from your house and there are no blockages. Doing this can save you from an expensive and potentially catastrophic foundation problem. If water from the roof is repeatedly deposited beside your home, the soil becomes saturated with moisture. In the winter, that moisture turns to ice, which expands and creates cracks in your home’s foundation. Over time, those cracks become larger and larger until there is a flood or structural damage.


Extend the life of your furnace, save energy, reduce duct cleaning, and improve indoor air quality by changing (or washing) your furnace filters. Washable filters use an electrostatic process to capture dust and particles and although they cost more upfront (approximately $100), they pay for themselves in less than two years. Disposable filters cost an average of $20 each and should be changed every three months. Washable filters may be cleaned up to 60 times depending on the product specifications.


Drafts swoop down chimneys in the wintertime (even with the flue closed) and cold seeps through the walls of the stack. For as little as $40, a chimney balloon or plug fits just above the hearth and will keep your heat indoors and the cold outdoors by blocking the fireplace opening. Don’t forget that the opposite is true at the peak of summer. In July and August, when you don’t need a fireplace, seal it to save on air-conditioning costs.


Winter heating is typically the largest single consumer of household energy (e.g., gas or electricity). With rising utility costs, it makes cents to put on a sweater or an extra blanket instead of cranking up the heat. Turn down the thermostat at night and whenever household members are away at work or school.


A programmable thermostat is a convenient way to automatically set different temperatures for various times of the day and night. In the long run, this saves effort and money. However, these are best for standard furnaces. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a programmable thermostat may interfere with the optimal functioning of heat pumps, electric resistance heating, steam heat or radiant floor heating.


Drafts can waste five to 30 per cent of a home’s energy, according to a report by the David Suzuki Foundation. Check for drafts by holding a lit stick of incense near doors, windows and chimneys; where the smoke wavers, there’s a draft. To seal windows, use weatherstripping tape, which costs as little as $5 per roll. For your doors, there are all sorts of products for less than $20 that either fit next to the door or wrap around the bottom.


Electrical outlets, especially those on an external-facing wall, can allow cold to seep into your living space. Conversely, in the summer, the outlets bring unwelcome warmth into your air-conditioned home. A simple once and done solution is to install insulating covers underneath the wall plates. These cost approximately $5 each.


Have you ever noticed the difference in the air temperature near the windows when you first open the curtains? Window glass is a poor insulator allowing some cold and heat to pass through. Heavy curtains are one solution. In the winter, when you want to enjoy as much natural light as possible, a better solution is insulation film. The thin plastic shrinks to fit the window with the heat of a hair dryer and costs as little as $15.


With a small investment of effort and money, you can enjoy a cozy, draft-free space as you save money.


Sources:

“How to winterize your home,” David Suzuki Foundation, accessed October 27, 2021, https://davidsuzuki.org/queen-of-green/how-to-winterize-your-home.


“Thermostats,” US Department of Energy, accessed October 27, 2021, https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/thermostats.



Main Source: https://www.sutton.com/blog/home-improvement/winterize-your-home

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Everyone knows not to leave cash on the kitchen counter or jewelry sitting on your nightstand before an open house but there are other things besides valuables you should think about stashing away. Thankfully, with a bit of due diligence, it’s unlikely you’ll run into any issues.


“I’ve only had one screwdriver stolen during a property visit in my 23-year real estate career,” says Katia Samson, a REALTOR® and certified real estate broker with Group Sutton Centre Ouest in Montreal. “I always do a tour of the property before any showings and if I think an item should be put away, I tuck it in a drawer.”


With lots of visitors coming and going, you still want to be sure to secure, hide or remove these nine items. Your REALTOR® can help guide you through the process to make sure you’ve checked off the various items on this list.


1. Mail, private documents and passwords

If identity thieves don’t mind rooting through your garbage to find personal information, they will happily swipe it off your desk. Tuck away your mail, social insurance card, banks statements, passport, utility bills and credit cards. If you can’t take these things with you, hide them somewhere visitors won’t find them. This goes for your online passwords, too. Don’t display your Wi-Fi password and avoid leaving a list of your personal passwords taped next to your computer.


2. Ashtrays

You may already know the smell of smoke is a huge turnoff to home buyers, but even the suggestion people light up in your home is enough to make them move on to the next property.


“If a property smells like tobacco or marijuana, it will be very difficult to sell,” says Samson.


3. Plug-in air fresheners

Yes, you want your house to look and smell fresh, but buyers might be sensitive to that flowery mist. Worse, they might wonder if you’re trying to cover up a bigger problem. While you’re at it, avoid sloshing bleach or other harsh chemical cleaners everywhere before the open house begins–buyers might think you’re concealing mould issues and could be turned off by the harsh smell.


4. Fans or space heaters

Neither of these items will do you any favours in the décor department, but buyers who see spot heaters plugged in everywhere may also wonder if something is wrong with the heating system or if your home is poorly insulated. On the flipside, fans may suggest the house can get too hot.


5. Pets and their stuff

We know you’d never leave your dog–even in its crate–during an open house, but you may also want to pick up food dishes, slobbery toys, litter boxes and other things that suggest an animal lives in the house. Buyers who don’t like cats or dogs don’t want to wonder if your pet has peed all over the basement carpets.


“Any signs that an animal is part of the household should be removed from sight for visits,” says Samson. Which means, don’t forget to thoroughly vacuum furniture if your furry friend sheds everywhere.


6. Prescription drugs

Thieves are more likely to steal valuable medication than wander off with a piece of jewelry, so don’t make it easy for them to find any. That means clearing out the medicine cabinet, your night table drawer and your kitchen cupboard if you usually store meds there.


7. Fridge magnets and family photos

Take down the wedding photos, kids’ awards, plaques, school photos and even magnets on your fridge. “Items that might make clients uncomfortable should be put away as well, such as toothbrushes, sponges in showers, hygiene items and dirty laundry,” adds Samson.


Not only is this a good way to declutter, but buyers will be able to see themselves living in the space if it doesn’t seem so personal.


8. Valuable paintings, sculptures or heirlooms

Electronics are not the only items that can mysteriously disappear during an open house, so keep expensive things away from view. Even if thieves can’t walk out with a large sculpture, don’t tempt them to come back and steal it another time.


9. Your keys and remotes

Nothing screams, “Come back some time and rob our house or steal our car!” more than extra keys dangling from hooks in your entry hall; ditto for the garage door opener. Store these items in a safe, secure place or bring keys and remotes with you when the open house begins.


Anything else?

While it’s very unlikely you’ll encounter any issues during an open house, it’s good common sense to take precautions. Listen to your REALTOR® and use your best judgment for a safe and successful experience.



Source: https://www.creacafe.ca/9-things-sellers-should-never-leave-out-during-an-open-house/

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There’s something about looking at images of a perfectly put together fridge or pantry that inspires you to do your own #fridgemakeover or reach #pantrygoals. It’s a popular trend on social media right now, but a well-organized kitchen isn’t just good for an Instagram post or TikTok video. Smart fridge and pantry organization can also help reduce food waste and inspire more home-cooked meals or snacks. If you have an appetite for organization, we’re sharing fridge and pantry hacks you can use in your own kitchen today.


Consolidate, decant, and label

The first thing to do is check what you have, toss out expired items, donate other unwanted items to a food bank (if accepted), and see what you have left. Once you know what you’re working with, batch similar items together and use a label maker, label sheet, or tape and marker to add visible labels with expiry dates to every item. Matching containers—either glass or clear plastic—help make it easy to see what you have on hand and will create a polished look in your pantry. If you don’t have storage containers, or you don’t want to buy any, you can still group things together based on their similarities and label them clearly.


There’s no right or wrong way to group your food items, but some of the more common categories are:

  • By meal: group all your breakfast items together, your lunch items, snack items etc.
  • By height: if you’re really going for aesthetics, grouping by height is a good choice.
  • By function: all your spices in one spot, all your baking supplies in another, etc.
  • By healthy choices: make it easier to grab a healthy snack by grouping them all in one. spot, and likewise for when it comes to finding a sweet treat.

You should also be sure to follow the FIFO rule—first in, first out. When you bring home a round of groceries, place the newest items towards the back and go through what you already have. This will help eliminate food waste and clutter.


Think outside the crisper drawer

We’ve all thrown away uneaten produce that was forgotten in a crisper drawer. To help your produce last longer and encourage healthy eating, wash and prep all your fruit and veggies before loading them into the fridge. This way, they’re ready to go when it’s time for a meal or snack. According to Oxygen Magazine, meal prepping can help take away the stress of healthy eating, since everything is conveniently ready when you want a quick snack. Make snacking simple by adding a labelled snack drawer to your fridge and filling it with healthy grab-and-go items you and your family love.


Opt for clear fridge containers with drawers or lids to help make produce easy to grab and go, and use the freed up drawer space to organize other items like cheese, meat, or backstock of milk or juice.


Stick to your own style

There’s no rule your pantry or fridge has to be filled with clear or white containers all items lined up in a row! If you’re into a more rustic style, aim to use natural materials like woven baskets, wooden boxes or crates, and glass jars of different sizes for a clean but homey look. In this example, glass jars make it easy to see what’s available while doubling as a design element on an open shelf. Plus, using recycled glass jars or baskets is environmentally friendly and often more cost effective.


Organize on your own budget

Wire bins, lazy susans, acrylic containers, and baskets can quickly add up with some items costing $20 or more per unit. Save money on your kitchen organization project by starting with what you already have at home, then looking for budget-friendly options at your local dollar or discount store. Dollar stores can offer inexpensive and cheerful solutions like baskets, containers, and jars in a range of materials. In this #pantrygoals example, dollar store organization finds are used to pull off a pantry overhaul on a small budget.


Use stadium shelving and turntables

Deep cupboards seem good in theory, but in practice they can become a waste of space. When you stack cans and boxes four or five deep, you lose sight of what’s available! Using stadium shelving, or shelf risers, lets you utilize the space towards the back but still keeps everything in view. Turntables offer the same convenience, letting you access things with ease.


Adjust your shelving height

Most pantries and fridges have adjustable shelves, but most people neglect to use them! If you buy a lot of tall items, such as cereal boxes or juices, make sure there’s a shelf to accommodate them. A good rule of thumb is to allow 2 inches of clearance above the tallest item on the shelf so you can add items easily.


Here are some typical pantry shelf measurements you should keep in mind:

  • 6.5 to 7 inches for canned goods
  • 14 to 16 inches for cereal boxes
  • 18 to 20 inches for larger items (bags of potatoes or rice, soft drinks, etc)

Whether you opt for a total organization overhaul or make some simple changes to make your fridge or pantry more functional, a little effort can go a long way towards making the most out of your kitchen’s storage space. 



Source: https://www.realtor.ca/blog/5-fridge-and-pantry-organizing-hacks-you-can-do-today/22638/1366

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Purchasing a property in the winter can be a pretty chill idea. Buying in the wintertime can be advantageous for both home buyers and sellers—with a smaller buying pool, the (typically) off-season market can lend more serious offers from motivated purchasers who benefit from less competition. However, wintery weather can make it tricky to assess a home when you can’t fully see the condition of the property under layers of ice and snow.


Don’t overlook the home’s exterior


A home’s first impression from the sidewalk is always important to consider when buying, and it’s no different during the winter.


Travassos and Rushforth agree it’s crucial to inspect the outside of the home in the winter time. Travassos notes you want to make sure the property’s driveway, outdoor stairs, and sidewalks are shoveled so you can clearly see their condition. A blanket of fluffy snow can also make it a challenge to gauge the property’s roof and grading to see if water is running away from the house correctly.


“Sometimes it can be difficult to see the condition of the roof or the shingles if they’re covered in snow, and then if all of the other roofs [in the neighbourhood] are covered in snow and yours isn’t, it means there’s probably not enough insulation—heat is getting out of the house that shouldn’t be,” explains Travassos.
Image via James Bombales


Landscaping costs for trees and grass can add up, so it’s best to get a sense of the condition of the back and front yards, too. Rushforth says a buyer should ask for pictures of the home in the summertime to assess the state of the yard, gardens, and any outdoor structures such as pools.


“You want to know what you’re buying, and the problem with [the winter], everything is covered,” said Rushforth. “You don’t know if there’s grass, if there are weeds, if there’s interlock, if there’s not interlock. Trying to get some recent summer pictures is absolutely key.”


Examine the interiors from floor to ceiling


When touring the inside of the property, you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled for any wintertime red flags that could indicate issues within the house.


Rushforth says to look for any signs of drafts, fogging, or condensation in the windows that could point to broken seals, allowing cold air to enter the home.


“Looking in the wintertime, you get to see if there are any drafts in the windows,” said Rushforth. “Can you feel cold air coming through? Do you see any leaking? Are you seeing any water stains?”


As colder weather tends to dry out rooms, Rushforth explains a buyer will want to look for gaping or splitting in hardwood floors, which can speak to the home’s humidity levels. Dryness can cause things to shrink slightly, so a purchaser should inspect the home to ensure interior doors and cupboards can close properly. By feeling the interior walls, you can also assess if they are cold to the touch and therefore poorly insulated—Travassos points out some homes may be double bricked and not insulated.


When viewing a home in the winter, Rushforth notes purchasers should monitor for big differences in temperature between rooms, a sign there could be ventilation problems to address.


“You’re looking for signs of chilly rooms, drafty rooms, or even rooms that are really warm,” said Rushforth. “Why are they really warm in the winter time unless the heat is punched up? You’re looking for differences in rooms that will be a tell-tale sign as to whether there are issues.”


Inspect your home utility systems and out-of-season amenities


The winter often calls for homeowners to shut down seasonal home amenities like pools and cooling systems, but this shouldn’t mean a buyer should skip on investigating these features.


Travassos and Rushforth explain a buyer won’t be able to turn on and test the home’s air conditioning in the winter to confirm if it’s working properly or not. Because of this, it’s important for the buyer to do their due diligence and ask the seller and their agent questions about the state of home systems such as the furnace, septic, pool parts, and other property features.


“Quite often, additions aren’t done with permits and pipes were not insulated properly, so in really cold months, they freeze a little bit,” said Travassos. “So you want to run the water on all of the taps and make sure you’re not seeing any of that.”

For pools and hot tubs, you may want to request copies of receipts, maintenance reports, and proof of professional services to ensure they—as well as all of the other home systems—are in good working order when you purchase the property. As always, opting for a home inspection can be a way to ensure a professional can get a deeper understanding of the property, including in areas like the basement and attic.



Source: https://r.trendinghomenews.com/8pdi0?fbclid=IwAR1dlVH0fJjVCSqywMN3l1drYE9HSNRAAwrRAR9ABm2Bl6ikZL0HFbL-00A

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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.