Lorenda Simms
Personal Real Estate Corporation

Sutton Group - West Coast Realty

Office 250-479-3333

Cell 250-217-5787

Email: lorendasimms@gmail.com

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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If you are buying a home, should you have a home inspection?  In my opinion this is always the best option.  Sometimes in a seller's market, buyer's are waiving this condition in order to secure their bid on a  home purchase.  If you choose to forego an inspection, can you afford the potential consequences?  This video highlights a few of the potential concerns that home inspectors look for when doing an inspection.
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Just like it’s in your best interest to get a head start when it comes to holiday shopping, it’s also a good idea to start prepping your home for winter early, too. Once the first signs of crisp air and winter-like weather make an appearance, you know it’s the perfect time to start making sure you won’t be left in the cold literally and figuratively.


If you’re a former longtime renter new to homeownership, you may be at a loss determining how to best prepare your home for winter. I talked to seasoned real estate agents to learn the best winter home maintenance tips which will spare your home in the cold and possibly save you time and money.


Clean the gutters ASAP.
If you want to preserve your walls, ceilings, and insulation, it’s best to keep your gutters clean, says Patricia Matus, a Realtor with CENTURY 21 Alliance Realty Group. Allowing snow and water to freeze and accumulate at the eaves of the house can cause damage to the roof and create leaks in your home, she explains. Use a snow rake to remove heavy snow when temperatures fluctuate between above and below freezing — this can prevent ice buildup and reduce the potential for leaks.


Make stray branches disappear.
The trees you admired in the spring and summer can do damage to your property come winter. Dealing with fallen branches after a snowstorm can be a huge headache turned financial burden, especially if they land on your house. Hire a professional to identify dead trees and trim branches before it’s too late, suggests Matus.


Drain your hot water heater.
Sediment build-up is a common problem for hot water heaters. Draining the heater can help the reduction of sediment so it runs efficiently, says Ryne Lambert, co-founder of Sell My House In Wisconsin.


Tune up the snowblower.
Nothing is worse than having the first big snowfall of the season, pulling out your snowblower, and finding that it doesn’t work. You’ll end up frustrated and tired from shoveling your way out a foot of snow and thinking about the money you wasted on the snowblower. Avoid this pitfall by having the snowblower tuned up. Replace spark plugs, change the oil, and make sure the unit is running efficiently ahead of time, says Lambert.


Install weather stripping.
A drafty house can be just as uncomfortable to live in as it is to effectively heat. Keep it warm by replacing or installing stripping for exterior doors to save money, says Lambert. Take it a step further by putting insulation or plastic around the windows as well.


Clear the chimney.
Chimneys can be problematic if they aren’t properly maintained, Matus says. “If you have a fireplace, call a chimney sweep to have it cleaned before you start using it,” she says. “Creosote build-up and debris such as a nest or leaves can be a fire hazard.” 



Source: https://www.apartmenttherapy.com/winter-home-maintenance-tips-real-estate-agents-36987441

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Prior to a home inspection, Boston real estate agent Sam Reifman-Packett makes sure he manages his clients’ expectations. “A home inspector isn’t there to hype up your dream home,” cautions Reifman-Packett, a vice president with Compass. “Their job is to find and make note of everything wrong with the property.”


Home inspectors are a bit like professional bearers of bad news. But their work can save you big bucks, because they often spot things you overlooked during an open house. Sometimes, the home inspection report includes several little fixes. Other times, they’re big, costly ones, like a roof that needs to be replaced or outdated electrical wiring. To further complicate the matter, there are parts of a home that will pass a home inspection but are still expensive to fix.


I asked real estate agents and home inspectors which finds in a home inspection can be the most serious or the most costly. Here’s what they had to say.


The Deck
A deck nearing the end of its life cycle can be a costly fix and also spell danger, explains Welmoed Sisson, a home inspector and author of “101 Things You Don’t Want in Your Home.” Typically, decks are built to last for 12 to 15 years in the outdoor elements, she explains. After that, the fasteners can corrode, which could lead to a collapse, Sisson says. While deck repairs can cost less than $3,000, a full replacement can run between $4,000 to $11,000, according to HomeAdvisor.


Foundation Repairs
Foundations can be very costly to repair, says Khari Washington, broker and owner of 1st United Realty & Mortgage. “The repair might even entail raising the house off of the foundation to repour footings on older homes,” Washington says. While minor cracks can cost a few hundred dollars, more major ones that require hydraulic jacking can cost tens of thousands of dollars.


Roof Replacement
A roof replacement has high material costs, Washington says, and can vary in cost depending on the roofing material and square footage of the home. While some roof replacements can soar over the $10,000 mark, the average homeowner pays $8,453 to install a new roof, according to HomeAdvisor.


New Septic Systems
A septic system is the non-urban way to deal with human waste, explains Glen Pizzolorusso, a broker with Compass in Fairfield County, Connecticut. These systems are designed to last 30 to 50 (or more) years, but mistreatment of a septic system can be very costly, with a new system costing between $20,000 and $50,000.


“It’s something that you cannot see when you fall in love with a home, and will only come up on inspection,” Pizzolorusso says. There are all types of systems, and they have changed over the years, he explains. Houses built in previous decades adhered to previous building codes, which are now obsolete, and new codes are adopted every few years.


“If a system fails and is outdated, you may be required to replace the system, but replacing a system must adhere to the new codes, so hopefully you have good soil and enough land, otherwise an engineered system with a hefty price tag is required,” he explains.


Water Damage
Oftentimes, water damage goes hand in hand with homes that need a roof replaced, explains Valentino Gecaj of Valentino Home Inspections in Westchester, New York. Although anything from leaky toilets to burst pipes to floods can also give way to this pesky problem. Water damage can lead to an abundance of mold, Gecaj explains, which can cause a slate of health problems. If the water damage is extensive, it can also cause major structural damage in the home.



Source: https://www.apartmenttherapy.com/most-expensive-fixes-home-inspection-36985263?amp=1

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There are events in our lives (e.g., the birth of a child) when we have to ask more from our homes. This can, on occasion, be solved with a short-term solution: a storage unit or a temporary wall. But the inevitable is, well, inevitable. You’ve outgrown your home. Here, we consulted with experts of architecture and interior design—Celerie Kemble, Campion Platt, and Madeline Weinrib—who share when it's time to contact the realtor.

Image may contain Restaurant Human Person Dating Sitting Food Court Food Cafeteria and Cafe


1/7
A New Desire to Entertain at Home
There’s a moment in our 20s or 30s when we start to socialize at home (and not at bars and restaurants). This creates a need for a “real” kitchen as well as an attractive area to entertain. Celerie Kemble says, “This room has to be beautiful for you and gracious for you. It has to be a space that affords you a sense of intimacy with the people of your choosing.”


2/7
You Need a Home Office
There are more and more people who work from home—which means there are more and more people who need home offices (because, it’s hard to concentrate on the couch). Campion Platt says, “More and more people are using technology in their home life in a new and interesting way, which doesn’t necessarily mean that they need more space but they need a differently working space.”

Image may contain Human Person Flooring Footwear Clothing Shoe Apparel Floor People Pants Denim and Jeans


3/7
You Need a Second (or Third) Bedroom
The birth of a child is, perhaps, one of the greatest reasons to add rooms: bedrooms as well as bathrooms and a recreation area. There are, now, new humans (with new needs) at home. Campion Platt explains: “It is more about children, I’ve found, than any other experience. Some people might have kids, and as they grow, they need a bigger play area for them, whether that’s a downstairs playroom or a bona fide playroom in the house.”


4/7
You Want to Celebrate Your Career and Its Success
So what about when you’ve “earned” a new home with new spaces? Perhaps the reward is an apartment with a dream closet—or even a summer house. Madeline Weinrib says: “In my new apartment with my husband that we moved into, I was very excited to have a large, walk-in closet. I think that’s something that a person aspires to have. My closets got bigger as my career went better. It went hand in hand.”


5/7
You've Outgrown Your Surroundings
There are times when a move is about a new area (not a new house). For example, people can “outgrow” the excitement of a downtown scene. Celerie Kemble says, “It’s about a shift in lifestyle where you also need a shift in environment.”


6/7
Your Art Collection Has Grown
Those who collect must have a home that accommodates their collections. Remember: These collections (whether art or, even, china or books) will continue to evolve. Madeline Weinrib says, “We just don’t have enough walls in our New York place for all that art that we have. So we just bought a summer house and the first thing on my list was a lot of wall space. I feel that people who are collectors need more space.”


7/7
Your Closets Are Stuffed (with Old Stuff)
Closets can be a blessing—and, they can be a curse. These extra rooms can soon become an accumulation of old and unused items. A new home can mean a new start. Celerie Kemble says: “Closets can feel like a throbbing headache, an oppressive weight with the detritus of our lives. Sometimes people need a new space to constrain themselves.”



Source: https://www.architecturaldigest.com/gallery/life-events-that-call-for-a-new-home

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Technology is a wonderful thing and, as luck would have it, there’s a bunch of handy smartphone apps created specifically for homeowners! Here are five great ones…


iScape
If you’ve got outdoor spaces that you’d like to improve, iScape is the app for you! This app uses your phone’s camera to allow you to drag and drop elements like trees, plants, fences, water features, etc. and visualize how it all fits together in your specific yard!


Happy Plant

This app is a very simple solution to a very common problem. If you frequently forget to water your plants, use Happy Plant to serve as a smart reminder system! There’s also a cool feature which creates time-lapse videos of your plants surviving, thriving, and growing.


HomeZada
This app is like six apps rolled into one! HomeZada helps homeowners with everything from managing remodel projects to keeping track of home-related financials and much more. As they put it, HomeZada is, “A personal finance solution that is a digital hub of all the important information about your largest financial asset – your home.”


Letgo

We all have too much stuff, right? Whether it’s stuff we don’t need, stuff we haven’t used in years, or stuff we don’t even remember getting, the Letgo app is here to help. Simply snap a pic of something you no longer want/need, list it on Letgo, and you’re done!


AroundMe
This app is endlessly helpful whether you’re new to the area or visiting somewhere you’ve never been. AroundMe basically gives you all the information you need about various businesses near you. A straightforward concept, but a very handy resource when you need it!



Source: http://www.trendinghomenews.com/2019/02/5-great-apps-homeowners/?token=4D975B0E-7224-4ADB-BA95-8673111264CF&final=1

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Buying and updating an older starter property can feel pretty overwhelming. Luckily, you don’t need to spend a fortune to feel instantly at home in your new digs — these easy painting DIY home projects will get the job done in no time.



Stairway to Heaven 
Jazz up a simple stairway by painting each rise its own bold colour — choose a single colour with varying amounts of white added for an ombre effect, or splash out and turn it into an indoor rainbow. Lugging laundry up and down the stairs just got a whole lot brighter. Tip: A sample can typically holds 8 ounces, which would be more than enough to cover a step or two.




Curtain Call


Update tired wooden curtain rods with a fresh coat or two of scratch-resistant paint. Cleaning, sanding and painting them will take a bit of elbow grease but it’s a way cheaper alternative to replacing them all, and will instantly change the feel of a space.


Show Your Mantle


When noodling over the best living room paint colours, turn to the experts. This year, Behr has selected BEHR Canyon Dusk S210-4 as their 2021 Colour of the Year — its warm inviting tones make it the ideal shade for a mantle refresh. Sometimes pulling out one element in a room to paint is all that’s needed to elevate the design; use a durable on-trend flat paint, such as BEHR SCUFF DEFENSE Interior Extra Durable Flat Paint & Primer for a modern feel.


Look Up, Way Up


When looking for other living room paint ideas, all you need to do is look up. Yep, adding colourful paint to the ceiling — especially if the rest of the room’s palette remains quite neutral — is a fun way to flip convention and inject energy into a space without too much work or investment.


Finding Patterns


Instead of using traditional (and oftentimes, expensive) wallpaper to highlight a specific area, opt for this simple DIY painted-wallpaper alternative. Painting a rainbow riot of colours with a (steady) free hand brings visual interest and vitality to a small space, such as an entryway or powder room.


Out Canvassing


When looking for an easy DIY home project, you can go beyond painting a feature wall and think about what you’d like to put on that wall. Put your artistic hat on and create your own large-canvas…just make sure you protect your “studio” from wayward paint splatters while working on your craft.


Paint Cabinets


When searching for straightforward, paint-based home improvements in the kitchen, look no further than the cabinets. Give these kitchen workhorses new life with a fresh, on-trend colour, such as BEHR Dressed to Impress MQ1-19 and choose a made-for-the-task paint such as BEHR PREMIUM Cabinet & Trim Enamel in the newly launched satin finish. It flows on fast and level, and dries to a durable finish — a must in a hardworking kitchen.


Take a Seat


Another bright DIY paint idea is to give a vintage chair new lease on life with a bright makeover. It may be a piece you found, inherited, thrifted or hunted down online, but putting your own creative stamp via a vivid coat of paint is an easy way to create an instant focal point in any room you place it in.


Blue Moon


White, cream, tan: there’s nothing wrong with bathroom vanities in these neutral shades — but if you want to add a little drama to your space, go for colour. This bright sky blue vanity paired with romantic brass fixtures and accessories is an undeniably sophisticated combination.


Back to It


With the advent of the #shelfie, bookshelves have become so much more than just a place to store your books — they’re now curated displays of taste, from art to personal interests. Painting the back of the bookshelves in deep, rich colour creates a tonal backdrop for these new decor vignettes to shine. Don’t worry: You don’t need elaborate built-ins to get the benefits of this simple DIY paint idea — any bookshelf setup will do.



Source: https://www.hgtv.ca/paint/photos/make-old-house-feel-new-with-paint-1948592/#

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Check out this fun, budget-friendly project that will help update your space with minimal disruption to your home.

It is possible to transform kitchen cabinetry, whether wood or melamine, by simply painting it—the finish options are endless, and you’ll be left with a beautiful space that’s totally rejuvenated.


MATERIALS

  • Screwdriver
  • Painter’s tape
  • Sander or sandpaper
  • Clean cloth
  • Brush or roller
  • Paint primer (for latex paint)
  • Paint
  • Wax or finishing varnish (for chalk paint)


Pro Tip: No primer is needed for chalk paint, but a finishing wax is required.


HOW TO

  1. Remove cabinet doors and drawer fronts from cabinetry and lay them flat.
  2. Remove hardware from cabinet doors and drawer fronts or protect them with painter’s tape.
  3. Sand the surfaces to be painted, then wipe them down with a clean cloth.
  4. Use brush or roller to apply primer if you’re using latex paint; let dry.
  5. Stir paint colour well, then apply with a brush or roller. Let dry. Apply second coat of paint. Let dry completely.
  6. Apply a finishing wax if you’re using chalk paint. Let dry completely.
  7. Reinstall the hardware.
  8. Carefully re-mount cabinet doors and drawer fronts.



Source:https://www.canadianliving.com/home-and-garden/decor-and-renovation/article/how-to-paint-kitchen-cabinetry

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When it comes to investment properties, there’s a lot to take into consideration. Aside from the financial and tax responsibilities, finding an investment property that makes sense for your situation requires some serious soul-searching.


It’s best to take a look at some of the pros and cons before getting into the market, as each type comes with its own set. However, there are some pros and cons that apply to every type of investment property. One pro, of course, is you’ll have a second income—always a plus. The biggest con for any investment property is you’re not guaranteed to have tenants at all times, which means that second income may not be consistent. As the landlord you’re also on the hook for any repairs or issues that need to be dealt with.


Let’s walk through some of the other pros and cons of the most common investment properties to see which one suits you best.


Duplexes
Duplexes are popular choices for investors looking to be close to their property—really close. They can also be great family investments, allowing different generations to live under the same roof but with private dwelling spaces. There are additional tax deductions available to you as well when you live on the property! Typically, work done to common spaces such as your yard, roof, or adjoining wall can be written off at 50% if the duplex is owner-occupied. Some people also consider the proximity to your investment to be a pro. If issues arise you can deal with them in a timely manner, plus you can keep an eye on how your tenants are treating the space. If you’re not living in the space and are instead choosing to rent out each portion of the duplex, the biggest advantage is collecting that additional rent.


On the flip side, duplexes can be more expensive to purchase, which puts you at a bigger risk if you can’t find tenants. It can also be harder in general to find tenants for duplexes, as more and more people are looking for privacy and larger spaces. Living attached to your tenants, albeit in a designated space, can also be a bit strange depending on who they are. If you’re not choosing to live in the duplex, you’ll have double the tenants to find—and double the repairs to deal with.


Single family homes
Over the last 18 months, single-family homes have been in demand as buying trends have changed. With an increase in working and schooling from home, the need for space has become paramount. Because of this shift, single-family homes could potentially be more attractive as investment properties.


Let’s start with the pros! In comparison to a full duplex, single-family homes are typically less expensive (depending on the home), which could see higher gains in your net income. Plus, the market for single-family homes is hot right now, meaning if you need or want to sell your property you’ll likely have an easier time doing so. From a rental perspective, single-family homes tend to attract longer-term tenants, providing a sense of stability to your financial situation.


In terms of cons, there’s one big one that stands out. Owning a single-family home as an investment property means a lower return on investment the longer it sits vacant. The costs to maintain a single-family home can be higher, and when the house sits empty those costs can quickly add up.


Pre-construction
With new developments popping up all over the country, buying pre-construction properties (either homes, condos, or apartments) can seem enticing. It’s easy to find the big pros for this type of investment. The customization allows you to create a space potential renters will find appealing. When you choose fixtures and finishes for a new construction home, you can find options that are agreeable to most people without breaking the bank. Plus, newer builds are more attractive to renters since they know things are in good working order and there likely won’t be any repairs needed in the near future.


That being said, pre-construction comes with a unique set of cons some people just don’t want to deal with. These cons can really be summed up into two words: the unknown. Your build could be unexpectedly delayed, leaving you to navigate these financial waters without additional income. Your down payment could be up to 30% up front for a new build, and it may not be complete for up to two years, which means you’ll be waiting a while to recoup that money as well as start making any profits. You should always consider the type of tenant you’re looking for (students, young professionals, growing families, etc.) so you can assess and align the property and neighbourhood with what they’ll need and want.


Basement apartments
Basement apartments have come a long way in the last 10 years or so! They can be spacious, private, cost-effective, exactly what young professionals are looking for as they save to buy their own home. Having a basement apartment in your home shares a lot of the same pros (and cons!) as duplexes. They help pay the mortgage of the home you’re in and you can write off a lot of the repairs since the space is owner-occupied. But it also means you’re living in the same home as your tenants and you lose a portion of your home.


There are two additional cons to consider when it comes to basement apartments, though. The biggest one comes if you’re adding a basement apartment to your home vs. buying a home that already has one built. Adding a basement apartment requires money up front to ensure the space is up to code, not to mention any regional requirements (i.e. permits, inspections). You also have to consider things like parking for your tenants, how they’ll get into their portion of the home, etc. When it comes time to sell your home, not having a “typical” basement could affect your resale value. You eliminate the group of people who aren’t looking to purchase an investment property, which could make the home harder to sell.


Something to consider when it comes to basement apartments is actually living in it yourself! I got my start in real estate by purchasing a home with a basement apartment and renting out the main floor while I lived in the basement apartment. I was able to charge a higher rent, allowing me to pay off the mortgage more quickly and ultimately make my way up the real estate ladder. If you’re going to purchase a home with a basement apartment, or are considering adding one to your current home, I really do recommend living in the basement portion yourself if possible!


Identifying risk factors
As with any investment, you need to identify the potential risks. There are four main risks to consider before purchasing an investment property.


Financial

You need to spend money to make money, but owning an investment property does come with some financial risks. If you can’t find tenants for an extended period of time, you’ll need to cover the mortgage out of your primary income, which may leave things a little tight.


Property location

Do some research on the neighbourhood to see if there’s a high demand for rentals in the area. If not, you may struggle to find people willing to commit to a lease. It’s also a good idea to ask a REALTOR® about the projected evolution of the neighbourhood. If it’s an up-and-coming spot, you may find yourself getting a great deal! Other things to consider include transit access, proximity to schools and daycare, nearby amenities, and access to the highway.


Age of the property

Older homes can be appealing for a vintage look, but they may end up causing you more issues than they’re worth. Homes over a certain age will likely need more frequent (and more expensive) repairs, which will ultimately cut into your profits.


The real estate market

No matter when you buy, this will always be an important thing to consider. The real estate market is unpredictable, which means any time you enter the market there are a lot of factors to consider. However, when you’re buying an investment property, you really want to be sure you’re getting a good deal so your profit margins can be higher. You’ll need to look at it as a longer-term investment and consider how it will affect you over a course of years, not months.


Investment properties can be a great way to earn a secondary income while getting yourself onto the property ladder. There are plenty of different property types you can find, each with their own set of pros and cons, but one thing remains constant: owning an investment property is a commitment! It’s not something you can do on a whim, which is why doing your research is the most important first step you can take.


*The information above is for informational purposes only and should not be used as investment or financial advice.



Source: https://www.realtor.ca/blog/different-types-of-investment-properties-and-what-to-consider/21898/1362

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For many Canadians sheds are often seen as dingy storage spaces for seasonal equipment and oversized junk. Conversely, in Australia and New Zealand, sheds are passionately celebrated in documentaries, books, and magazines as places of invention, retreat, and productivity.


However, it looks like some Canadians are coming around, and realizing their sheds’ potential as stunning and functional extensions of their homes. From home office setups to backyard gyms, here are five amazing shed transformation ideas that go against the grain.


Join the tiny house revolution!
If the explosion of #TinyHouse Instagram accounts and YouTube channels is any indicator, the growing appeal of living in more compact, efficient, and even portable “tiny homes” is reaching a fever pitch. According to SEMrush’s 2020 Canada Real Estate Trends report, average searches for “tiny homes for sale” have soared throughout the East Coast.


Redeveloping your backyard shed or garage into a separate structure (built to code, of course) can also provide a new source of income as a rental unit. In cities like Toronto, where the housing market temperature continues to rise, some residents are renovating their backyard sheds and garages into self-contained dwellings made accessible through the city’s intricate network of laneways, and renting or selling them as smaller one-person units.


As with any property renovation in Canada, whether in an urban or rural community, you’ll want to ensure your tiny house project meets standards and regulations. Make sure to assess your renovation plans against local zoning laws, bylaws, and building codes before you break ground. Or better yet, ask your REALTOR® for their insight.


Stretch out with a new gym or yoga studio
With gyms and fitness centres closed and Canadians staying home more than, it’s no surprise personal fitness equipment has seen a sharp increase in sales since the beginning of the pandemic.


But in an already-crowded house with each room playing a specific role—“Honey, the dining room is for potatoes, not pilates!”—what better way to stretch out and use all your available space than by setting up a gym or yoga studio in your shed?


You can easily store your weights and machines in the shed when not in use, and bring them outside when the weather allows for a full-on outdoor iron-pumping session. Or, if zen is more your speed, clear out enough space for a yoga mat, plants, diffusers, and a Bluetooth speaker, and watch the stress melt away.


Work from home…at the office
For those of us working from home but still crave a light commute and/or have a crowded household during the day, a backyard home office offers a quiet and separate space to take Zoom calls, finish up your daily deliverables, or simply collect your professional thoughts.


With the number of people working from home going up and up, Canadians are looking for contractors to help build new offices in their existing shed space. The only restrictions are space, so let your imagination run wild. That being said, just be sure your new backyard office doesn’t pose any insurance risks.


Get back to basics with a greenhouse
For the budding gardeners among us, why not transform your backyard shed from a “fixed” state of storage to a “growth”-oriented hub by setting up your own sheltered greenhouse? By adding a few window openings and shelving units, you can take advantage of the shed’s access to sunlight and create a warm, insulated home for your seedlings. A shed-turned-greenhouse is also a great way to keep critters away from any fruits and vegetables you may be growing. So, whether planning a hydroponic herb garden or pop-up produce stand and flower shop, the options are ripe for the picking.


Retreat to your fortress of solitude
If you’re looking for some alone time, and perhaps a more stylish and less utilitarian use of your existing shed space, focus your shed makeover on creating your own backyard oasis. Whether it’s a meditation space or escape room, you can get away from it all while staying put.

Of course, all of these ideas will only be possible after a thorough spring cleaning. Good thing the weather is cooperating. Time to get started—your shed is waiting.



Source: https://www.creacafe.ca/from-drab-to-fab-five-shed-transformation-ideas/

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Carpenter ants, wasps, fleas, roaches, bedbugs…insect infestations can be a nuisance and a real threat to your home. While you may expect the bugs when you’re on the patio, you’re likely not expecting them when you’re crawling into bed. We asked an entomologist to share tips so homeowners can learn how to spot the early warning signs bugs have found their way into your home, and ways to prevent them from getting inside in the first place!


Carpenter ants

Carpenter ants can cause major damage in your home, says entomologist Taz Stuart, who is the director of technical operations for Poulin’s Pest Control in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Most of the time, their primary nest is outside your house.


“The queen then finds old or water-damaged wood, and you’ll see sawdust being pushed out and the ants themselves,” explains Stuart. “Getting a positive identification on these ants will then allow a pest control professional to treat inside and outside the home, and find the source colony to get that removed.”



Bedbugs

Bedbugs are great hitchhikers, and they can get into almost everything. They’re also hard to get rid of. 


“I’ve seen them in bags, books, and boxes, so it’s very important to look at your items. Don’t assume just because something’s new that bedbugs can’t be on it,” says Stuart. “In an infestation in the home, look for the bugs themselves. Their skins molt, so that’s another piece of evidence to look for. You’ll also see little black spots on your bed frame, mattress, and even on your dressers, your drawers, lampshades, baseboards, or sofa.”



Cockroaches

Cockroaches thrive in unsanitary conditions, says Stuart. They love it when food or water is left out, and they’ll often arrive in your home by hitching a ride inside a cardboard box. 


“We’ve seen a big increase in the number of calls about roaches since last year. More people are staying home, leaving out their stuff or ordering in products that may have roaches in them,” he explains. 


Your home can quickly become infested, because females don’t need males to mate: Within 36 days, you’ll have between 30 to 48 new cockroaches from one bug, and they’re incredibly resilient. 


“They can live without water for seven to 14 days, and without food for more than 30 days. They’ll eat their own young if they have to, or their own waste,” says Stuart. 


Because roaches are nocturnal, you’ll see them scurrying across the floor when you turn on the lights during the evening. 



Wasps

Yellow jacket or paper wasps are common now, because the queens have started their nests, says Stuart. 


“During the summer, they’re docile because they have lots of alternative food sources, so they’re not really going to be bugging you until late August, September, and October when their natural food sources disappear,” he explains.  


Wasps can be a nuisance when they go after your sugary drink or hamburger out on your deck, but don’t swat them away, because they’ll become aggressive, adds Stuart. 


“They can sting you multiple times and release pheromones to make you more attractive to their wasp friends so they come sting you as well.” 


If you notice a wasp’s nest under the eaves of your roof or near a window, bring in a professional. It’s best to have wasps sprayed and the nest removed at night when the workers are inside it. 



Fleas

Have you ever seen a tiny black spot leap off your dog’s neck onto the floor? That means your pet has brought fleas into your home, and you can quickly become infested with them, says Stuart.


“Look for the evidence like fecal matter around the pet’s ears or in the hairline, or the fleas themselves,” he says. “It’s important to get the proper products to treat your pet, and to bring in professionals. Be sure to wash everything and dry it at high heat to kill all stages of fleas.” 



How to make your house unwelcoming to insects

When it comes to bug infestations, exclusion is the key: Insects sneak into your home wherever there are holes or cracks in your foundation, explains Stuart. 


“Seal those up, and install tightly fitting screens to make sure nothing gets in,” he suggests. “And get rid of any old or water-damaged wood on or near the house, because insects will start excavating that out to create a new colony, which can become a structural issue.”


Stuart also recommends keeping food stored away, and placing insect traps and monitors at strategic spots around the house, such as entry points and along baseboards inside. 


“Any bug can cross the trap and get stuck on there, so you’ll see what you have,” he says.


Noticing bug infestations when they’re in the early stages can make it easier for you to deal with them before they become a bigger issue. It’s always recommended you contact a professional before doing any work that could cause structural damage, or when it comes to using harsh chemicals to deal with infestations. 



Source: https://www.realtor.ca/blog/5-creepy-crawlers-to-watch-for-in-your-home/21489/1363

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Buying a flipped home—a property that’s been purchased, renovated, and re-sold by an investor—is all the rage these days, and for good reason! It’s an enticing idea, especially since you get to move into an already-updated home without having to handle the renovations yourself.


Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bank of Canada saw evidence of “a lot more flipping” driving investor activity in some Canadian housing markets, as housing prices across the country rose 25% in February over the previous year.


It’s easy to jump headfirst into a flipped home because everything seems shiny and new. But it’s important to weigh the pros and cons to avoid a potential headache down the road. Here are some things to keep in mind when looking to purchase a flipped home.


1. What’s your budget?

Remember: Investors flip houses to make money. The average investor can make thousands in net profit on a property flip—that’s why they undertake the risk, effort, and financial investment to renovate a house they don’t intend to live in. As a result, you’ll probably end up paying a higher price as a sort of “convenience fee” for someone else taking care of all the renovations. You’re the one benefitting from buying a freshly renovated, move-in ready home, so it can be worth that extra cost. Just be sure the higher price tag for this convenience doesn’t strain your budget!


2. How long did the flip take?

Flipping a house takes time to do it properly, but the longer an investor holds onto the property, spending money on remodeling, the less profit they’re making. This may cause the investor to rush the flip and even cut corners on safety or quality of construction—not great for you, the potential buyer.


It might be a red flag if a house has been flipped in three months or less. However, different projects will take a different amount of time. A full flip will take longer than a kitchen or basement redo. Plus, timelines will vary depending on who’s completing it!


Work with your REALTOR® to find the full history of the house, specifically the date and price of the property’s last sale, to help verify when work began. Additionally, contact your local building department to check if the investor obtained the proper permits and the home is up to code. More on this in a bit…


3. Inspect everything carefully.

A common pitfall experienced by first-time buyers of a flipped house occurs when they don’t inspect closely enough, avoid doing due diligence on the flipping process, and are shy about asking a lot of questions. They’ve become the proud new owners of a home that looks beautiful on the outside but may hide shoddy work on the inside.


A critical step to take once you’ve submitted an offer and secured your financing is to hire a professional home inspector to “kick the tires” of your new home. Learn more about the home inspection process including how to find a professional inspector in your area by visiting the Canadian Association of Home & Property Inspectors. Your REALTOR® can also connect you with a reputable home inspector who knows and serves your neighbourhood.


If you put in a conditional offer, your sale is not final until the inspection is complete. This means if the inspection uncovers any issues, you can go back to the seller to renegotiate the selling price or revoke the offer if the issues are too extreme. If you buy the home without conditions, you’re responsible for resolving any issues that arise during the home inspection, which could end up being pretty pricey if the flippers cut corners. A typical home inspection should take about three hours and can cost anywhere between $300 and $800 depending on the size of the house, but the peace of mind this will afford you is worth every penny.


4. Ask questions about every single thing.

Be sure to accompany the inspector (if possible) during the walk-around of your flipped house and come equipped with more questions than you thought you needed to ask. Some of these questions include:

  • Can you provide all the work permits?
  • Can you provide the proof of inspection for the electrical work?
  • What was structurally changed?
  • What was done to the foundation?
  • What was done to the wiring?
  • Are there signs of mould?
  • What was done to the plumbing?
  • How was the insulation upgraded?
  • Did you touch the roof?
  • How did you address insect, water, fire, or other major damage discovered during the project?

You don’t want to be blind-sided if something happens to your new home, so asking these questions is crucial to ensuring you feel comfortable if and when you move in.


A good flip has its benefits

If you do your research, talk to the right people, and are OK with someone else making all the renovation choices, then purchasing a flipped house isn’t a bad option. While it may be a bit more expensive and require diligent inspection, you’ll sit comfortably in your newly remodeled living room knowing you invested in a new home that will stand the test of time.


If you are looking to buy a flipped home, be sure to connect with a REALTOR®. They’ve likely been through this experience before and know what you should be on the lookout for! Their knowledge of homes, inspections, housing markets, and the neighbourhood will be extremely beneficial to helping you make an informed decision. 



Source: https://www.realtor.ca/blog/flip-or-flop-4-things-to-consider-before-buying-a-flipped-property/21400/1362

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Minimalism is often perceived as an extreme practice, but Joshua Becker, founder and editor of website Becoming Minimalist, says it doesn't have to be. There are no real rules and contrary to what is commonly believed, it's not the practice of going without. "While it is true that you will have less, it’s less of what you don’t need, and more of what you want, like time and money.”


Becker feels that we’ve reached a saturation point with the possessions we've accumulated at which the items don't make us any happier. “Material belongings become more of a burden than a blessing,” he says.

Becker’s own journey with minimalism began about 10 years ago. While cleaning out his garage and watching his son play alone nearby, he realized that the belongings he was organizing were not adding value to, but actually detracting from his life and keeping him from what he really wanted to be doing. His story and subsequent stories he's shared on his website have inspired millions around the world to “find more life by owning fewer possessions.”


Here's how you can live a happier, more fulfilling life by practicing minimalism.


How do you begin?

There’s no need to feel overwhelmed or anxious about minimalism. Remember, there are no rules, and you only do what you are comfortable doing. “A little minimalism is better than none at all,” says Becker. Begin with the easiest space or room by purposefully getting rid of all the items you don’t need or use, like clothes that haven’t been worn for a long time and kitchen implements that you don’t use.


Becker says resist the urge to simply reorganize, which is almost always just a temporary solution, and instead sort your belongings into four groups: trash, give away, keep and relocate. Take your time with this process and carefully consider where each individual item best fits.


Need help? Learn about the infamous KonMari Method and the "life-changing magic of tidying up."


How do you get the kids on board?

Becker says that kids are usually good at embracing minimalism. Among other benefits, the process will empower them to make their own decisions and to learn about living within limits. Demonstrate your own commitment by tackling one of your own spaces first, and give your child a small space like a closet or toy box to sort through. Let them choose what to keep, based on what toys fit into that amount of space.


What should you do with all the belongings you no longer need?

Do your research and donate to a local charity that you believe in. You can also have a garage sale, drop them off at a consignment store, or sell the items online to recoup some of the money spent. For the items that are at the end of their lifeline, check to see if they can be recycled before throwing them into the garbage.


What are the benefits of living minimally?

After making just one small change, Becker predicts your simplified space will feel peaceful. Your home will be easier to clean and keep organized, resulting in more time to spend doing what you really want — and you'll have the money to do so. Plus, you’ll be a positive example for your kids, as they will learn to be less focused on consumption and kinder to the environment.


What do you do after the purge?

Resist excessive consumerism and purchase less. If you're having trouble, consult the above image of the "Buyerarchy of Needs” by Sarah Lasorovic. Make better use of what’s already available to you, prior to making a purchase. Buying should be your last resort.

Concentrate on spending your time and money on pursuing experiences, rather than stuff, and you're bound to feel more fulfilled.



Source: https://www.canadianliving.com/home-and-garden/organization-and-cleaning/article/how-minimalism-can-enhance-your-life

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Homeownership has a way of awakening the inner Bob Vila in all of us—even the ones who know nothing about home improvement. Whether you’re tackling huge renovations or tiptoeing your way into the world of DIY, these tips will help you set yourself up for success.


Have a plan
Renovations rarely go exactly to plan, but that doesn’t mean you should wing it. Last-minute changes are both stressful and expensive, so get the non-negotiable details hammered out first. At minimum, this means knowing what results you want and how much money—and time—it will take to achieve them.


Modeling and design tools like Floorplanner are super helpful in the planning phase. Create a couple different versions of the same project, then add a 10-15% buffer to your budget estimates to prepare for inevitable surprises.


Add value when possible
If you’re not sure where to start with home improvements, it can be helpful to prioritize projects that increase your home’s value. Updated kitchens and bathrooms are pretty much always a safe bet, as are any renovations that increase square footage, like finished basements and decks. But buyer preferences vary from market to market, so

be sure to focus on what’s popular and valuable where you live—not broad national trends.


Tackle quick, time-sensitive projects first
Some home improvements are more urgent than others. If a project will save you money immediately or prevent devastating damage in the future, bump it to the top of the priority list. That goes double for quick, easy fixes, like sealing drafts and replacing filters.


Find your DIY threshold

Even if you’re an experienced DIY-er with a well-stocked workshop, not all home improvement projects are suitable for amateurs. Before starting a project, gauge your interest level: How much work are you really willing to put in? Is that effort worth the money you’ll save? Be brutally honest.


If you have no idea what you’re getting into, don’t commit until you’ve spent, at minimum, a solid couple of hours watching YouTube tutorials and pricing out materials. Remember: Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.


Bone up on DIY knowledge
Everyone should know a few basic repair skills, and thanks to the internet, learning them has never been easier. If you can, start with a specific question: Is my garbage disposal broken or just clogged? Do I really need to clean my dishwasher filter? How do you refinish a coffee table? You’ll click with some blogs and video personalities more than others; next time, start with them.


If you’re more of a hands-on learner, try volunteering: You’ll learn new skills and help people at the same time. Many hardwares stores offer free clinics on basic home repair and improvement skills, too, so be sure to check the offerings in your area.


Save money by scrimping—and splurging—responsibly
Major renovations are expensive, but going full Scrooge on every single line item only creates more work later. Instead, identify where you can and can’t afford to be a little stingy. A good rule of thumb: Shell out for anything catastrophically expensive and/or difficult to replace, like hot water heaters and electrical work. For easily replaceable items—shower heads, light fixtures, drawer pulls—cheap is fine. You should also consider how much use and enjoyment you’ll get from an item. If you’re an avid cook, skimp on floor tiles so you can splurge on the stove of your dreams.


Understand your financing options
Unfortunately, most home improvements do not pay for themselves. If you can’t afford to finance the project in full with cash, you should know the different ways you can finance your home improvement without putting your home at risk.


Personal loans and credit cards can be useful for small-to-medium projects, depending on the interest rate and terms, while home equity loans (HELs) and lines of credit (HELOCs) can help finance major renovations and repairs. Improvements that increase your home’s value can cut down on private mortgage insurance payments, but keep in mind you’ll have to pay to get your home reassessed on top of everything else.


Get your tools right
You can’t really improve your home with just your bare hands—most projects require at least a multi-tool. Before you start a project of any size, be sure your toolbox actually contains the tools you’ll need. Keep in mind that some project genres need special equipment, particularly if they involve plumbing or electrical systems. When in doubt, Google it.


Find the perfect contractor

Finding a handyman or contractor you trust is a lot like finding the right dentist or therapist: Harder than it sounds, and with incredibly high stakes. It’s important to vet potential contractors carefully using these criteria:

  • Word of mouth: Ask friends, family, and neighbors for recommendations—especially if they have industry connections
  • Check for complaints: Look up your state’s consumer protection office and your local building inspection office
  • Learn which licenses and permits are required in your area for contractors, electricians, plumbers, and painters
  • Get proof of insurance: Ask contractors to provide you with their insurance details so you can verify it with the provider
  • Ask for references, then actually check them out
  • Meet with every potential candidate so you get a feel for their style
  • Get quotes—and track them with a spreadsheet or other list


For even more specific questions you should ask, check out the Federal Trade Commission’s guide on hiring a contractor.


Always keep your next project in mind
When one project ends, another begins—such is the nature of home improvement. Planning your next move is a lot harder when you can’t remember the good ideas you had while working on something else. Keep a detailed list of your project goals in a spreadsheet, notebook, or even a good old-fashioned Pinterest board so you’ll always know what’s next.



Source: https://lifehacker.com/top-10-home-improvement-tips-every-homeowner-should-kno-1656251243

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Kitchen renovations are not one size fits all. What’s important to one person may not be to another, particularly when it comes to those who love to cook and those who don’t. But when it comes to return on investment, there are certain elements that are essential. Here are a few recommendations on how to get the best ROI in your kitchen renovation.


Neutral Colours
When it comes to kitchens, I always recommend neutral colours. Actually, I insist on it. Bright and bold colours can be a real turnoff to buyers. So, if you want your kitchen to appeal to as many people as possible, neutral colours are definitely the way to go. White, cream, grey, beige and navy are all neutrals and look great in a kitchen. If you want to accent them with bright colours, do it through things like dishes, tea towels and artwork.


Transitional Style
Like neutral colours, transitional style is the safest bet in a kitchen. Overly ornate or ultra-modern styles will turn off certain buyers, so it’s wiser from a financial standpoint to stick with simple paneled doors that are just short of modern; and stainless, chrome or dark bronze hardware. When it comes to transitional style, keep it simple and approachable.


Semi-Custom Cabinetry
Custom kitchens are great for many reasons; but for people looking for great quality without a high price, semi-custom is the way to go. These types of cabinets are available in standard sizes, but offer customizable features such as decorative accents and interior storage options. Remember that cabinets serve an incredibly important function, so don’t cheap out.


Simple Tile
Some people like to make tile a feature in their kitchens; but as a general rule, I advise against it. It has always been my experience that simple tile designs in a neutral colour offer the best return on investment. That’s not to say it has to be boring. White marble tile in a honeycomb, chevron or floral pattern for instance, looks great while still being subtle.


Quartz Countertops
If you have the budget, nothing beats a quality Quartz countertop. They’re durable, offer a great ROI and look terrific. Since countertops take a lot of beatings – dishes clanging, knives scraping, spills – making the investment in something that won’t get damaged is well worth the price.


Stainless Steel Appliances
Every day I hear from someone who says they hate stainless steel. They want white and nothing will change their mind. Fair enough, but it doesn’t change the fact that stainless steel is currently the most popular finish for appliances and it will get you the best return on investment. So if you’re looking for the best ROI, stainless is the way to go.


The most important thing to remember during a kitchen renovation is that a high return on investment will only be achieved when the upgrades match the quality of the rest of the home. For instance, a high-end chef’s style kitchen won’t add much value if the rest of the house looks dated and dingy. However, when a kitchen renovation is done right and is part of a well-maintained, upgraded home, the ROI can be as much as 200%.



Source: https://www.hgtv.ca/renovations/blog/scott-mcgillivray-roi-kitchen-renovation-1922244/

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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.