What You Need to Do When Saying Goodbye to Your Home

What You Need to Do When Saying Goodbye to Your Home

  Although you’re excited about moving, there are easy ways to reduce the ache you feel when thinking about leaving the old abode.  According to this Realtor.com post by Lisa Davis you could throw a going away party with the neighbours who shared your journey over the years.  Toast your soon-to-be former residence. Leave a reminder of your presence for future generations like a signature on a rafter in the attic. To read more click here. ...
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The Do’s and Dont’s of Basement Storage

  This article from Bob Vila gives eight handy tips to consider when using your basement for storage.   The suggestions include taking advantage of vertical space by building up and not out, using open shelves for frequently-used items and built-in cabinets to conceal toys or cleaning supplies, storing off-season gear in sealed bins to protect from moisture and dust, using a pulley-hoist to store heavy or bulky items from the ceiling, protecting tools stored in the open with a coating of machine oil to prevent rust and running a humidifier in the basement to suck moisture from the air and combat mold or mildew.  To read more click here. ...
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Is It Time to Downsize? Ask Yourself These 4 Questions First

  If you’ve reached the time of life where you are contemplating downsizing your home, the first question to ask, according to this Realto.com post, is what kind of lifestyle do you want after downsizing? By defining how you want to live, you can narrow your search and focus on housing that will meet those requirements.   For example, if you want to escape the bluster of winter and relax on a beach, local climate conditions and geography will drive your hunt. Or, if you like social activities, you would seek active adult communities where you can interact with like-minded people.   The next step is to consider the financials by asking what will you budget  look like?  After that, ask yourself if you have enough equity in your home to make a profit.  If you have enough equity, you can buy your next home outright or bring a sizable ...
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What’s the best property type for your first home?

  Inexperience can cause first time home buyers to be confused by the multitude of available options. This post by Caroline James is an excellent introduction to the advantages and disadvantages of five popular property choices: a large detached house on a suburban block, a small home on a sub-divided lot, a townhouse, an apartment in a small block and an apartment in a high rise block. To read more click here. ...
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8 Mistakes That Could Screw Up Your Home Sale

  Usually we hear “buyer beware”, but real estate author Michael Corbett advises sellers to beware and gives 8 reasons why in this trulia.com post.  Always work with professional help, including a real estate agent.  Their expertise, experience, neighbourhood knowledge and resources will help you plot a course through the selling process.   Overpricing is a temptation to be avoided since most buyers are savvy and have the advice of an agent.  Ensure that you use high quality photos because 90% of buyers shop for home online. Complete repairs like leaky faucets before listing your home to avoid negotiations over what the repairs will cost potential buyers.   Spend time cleaning and removing clutter since untidiness makes your home seem smaller.  Stage your backyard as if it were another room and maintain the landscape so it appeals to your viewers, especially in summer and fall when we enjoy outdoor activities.  ...
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5 tips for eco-friendly renovations

  If you are renovating, you should consider the green strategies suggested in this realestate.com post by Danielle King.  For example, add insulation to the roof and external walls and you could save 25% on energy costs.  Replace inefficient windows or add window film since up to 40% of your heating can be lost through windows in winter.   Energy efficient appliances, LED lighting and solar panels will also contribute savings, while protecting the environment. Implement water collection techniques to use rainwater for toilets and the garden.  Include water efficient faucets and showerheads. Add high-flow taps that make baths and washing machines fill quickly. Use low/no Voltatile Organic Compound (VOC) materials where possible, and non-toxic paints.to read more click here. ...
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Canadian Home Prices Are Growing At One Of The Fastest Paces In The World

  The Canadian real estate market continues to boom, according to this Financial Post offering.  With a year-over-year increase of 8.2%, Canada ranked 4th of the 23 countries studied in Scotiabank’s report Global Real Estate Trends, behind Ireland (13.3%), Sweden (10.5%) and Australia (8.3%).  However, the report warns the trend could change if economic uncertainty and high unemployment counterbalance the attraction of low borrowing costs.  To read more click here. ...
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Here’s What Pushes People to Buy Homes in 2015

  If you want to sell your property quickly, at near the asking price, it is important to know why people are buying.  In this post, Realtor.com chief economist, Jonathan Smoke, suggests we pay attention to the five main triggers for home buyers: they have grown tired of their home and want a change, interest rates are exceptionally low, housing prices are favourable in many markets, they need or want more living space and they have the money to spend. To read more click here. ...
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Unchecked Emotions Can Cause Costly Property Mistakes

Unchecked Emotions Can Cause Costly Property Mistakes

  We are sometimes enthralled by the presentation of a property, but ignoring the things we cannot see or overlooking obvious problems and risks can lead to disastrous consequences. To the extent possible, put your emotions aside and make buying property a business decision based facts and data.   Getting Too Attached To A Property   Impulse decisions in real estate can cost major dollars and can have life altering effects. If you fall in love with a house, you may be tempted to waive conditions or pay more than planned in the rush to close the deal. The problem is, when we get too emotionally attached, we keep altering our “walk away” price to the point where it doesn’t exist. Set a threshold and when you past it, walk away.   Knowing What You Can Afford   It’s  important to put optimism aside and truly understand your financial position, now ...
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The Number of Real Estate Appraisers Is Falling. Here’s Why You Should Care

  According to this realtor.com post, the number of real estate appraisers is dropping to the point where parties on both sides of real estate transactions could suffer. Since most residential mortgages need an appraisal before a sale closes, a shortage of appraisers will affect buyers, who rely on accurate valuations to structure their offer, and sellers, who can lose a deal if appraisals come in low.   The Appraisal Institute notes the number of appraisers has dropped 20% since 2007 and predicts a 3% annual decline for the next decade. Fewer appraisers means longer waits, which could delay a closing. That delay means that buyers (borrowers) might have to pay for longer mortgage rate locks and sellers, who need the equity from the sale to purchase their next home, might miss opportunities to bid.   A shortage also means appraisals will likely cost more.  Even worse, there could be quality issues ...
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Boost Your Curb Appeal with 4 Doable DIY Projects

  Most sellers realize that preparing the interior of their homes for viewing is essential.  In this article, Bob Villa explains it is just as important to stage the exterior of your house as it is to prepare the inside rooms when you are selling.  For example, a clean, well-maintained yard will signal that you have taken care of the property during your time as owner.   Power washing the garage door, driveway and fences will add to that impression.  If you are upgrading the paint, determine whether accent painting (shutters, columns, etc.) or a whole-house job is required.  And, use traditional colours (classic white, creamy off-white, warm taupe, blue-gray, or pale yellow) that appeal to the greatest number of potential buyers.   A lush, colourful garden, potted plants, manicured shrubs and window boxes will help you make a memorable first impression.  Improving the entrance can be as simple as ...
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5 must-do’s for first-time home buyers

  This homeownership.ca article by real estate lawyer Mark Weisleder gives the essentials for the novice buyer.  Start by calculating what you can afford (general rule is 30% of gross income).  Then, figure out what is important to you and search for properties with those features.  Ask the seller about flooding, leaks, mould, insurance claims and neighbourhood problems.  Pay for a thorough home inspection by a qualified inspector and buy an after-sale warranty.  To read more click here. ...
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5 Steps to a Safer Bathroom

  If you are planning to remodel your bathroom this Consumer Reports article give sound advice on how to do it with safety in mind.  Install pressure-balancing and anti-scald valves to provide a steady flow of water that remains at a safe temperature.  Add a sturdy, properly secured grab bar that will support 250 pounds.   Since mold and mildew thrive in a moist environment, ensure your vent fan exhausts to the outside and run it after every shower to dehumidify the room.  Remove any items (hamper, scale) that might cause a tripping hazard and ensure mats have non-skid backing.  To read more click here. ...
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How to Reduce Your Energy Bill with No Cost or Sacrifice

  This excellent post from Adam Dachis on lifehacker.com tells how to lower your electricity bill easily, at no cost, by using your appliances more efficiently.  For example, promoting optimal air flow will lower energy costs by reducing the demand on your cooling/heating system.  Opening all vents in the house and replacing filters on a monthly basis will support ideal air flow, while standing or ceiling fans can be positioned to push hot air up and out (summer) or down to trap it in the room (winter).   Dachis also provides useful tips for laundry machines (reduce heat whenever possible as it accounts for over 90% of the electric demand; load the machines appropriately; do the job when discounted rates apply; air dry the clothes where possible), dishwashers (disable the heated drying cycle; pre-wash just enough to remove food particles and let the machine do the rest; load the dishes ...
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Inexpensive Ways to Make Your Home Green

Inexpensive Ways to Make Your Home Green

  In this bhgrelife.com post, we learn just how easy it is to join the green movement and become an eco-warrior.  For example, by improving the energy efficiency around home, you reduce consumption, conserving the planet’s resources and saving money at the same time.  Installing a programmable thermostat lowers consumption and, surprisingly, a fully loaded dishwasher uses less energy than manual washing.   Changing furnace filters and cleaning dryer lint traps regularly will improve operating efficiency and reduce consumption.  Green landscaping ideas like composting, collecting and using rain water, pest control with natural products, using push mowers instead of gas or electric mowers and sweeping rather than hosing down the driveway all focus on avoiding hazardous chemicals and/or reducing consumption, waste and pollution.   When decorating, use low-VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) paint and adhesives to reduce ozone pollution.  Bamboo flooring is a sustainable product because it is made from the ...
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Why Millennials Are Moving Home Design Trends

  In this article for Freshhome magazine, Shelly Little explains how Millennials, the generation born between 1980 and the early 2000’s, are redefining home design.   According to her research, Millennials value money and success, individuality and urbanized environments.  And, they want this outlook reflected in their homes.  They want small designs that are unique and functional so they are willing to buy fixer-uppers or engage in DIY projects.  They also desire technological innovations and smart automation.  These attitudes are causing a major shift in the way homes are being designed and built.  To read more click here.     ...
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Buying Near Parks and Recreational Facilities

  According to RealtorMag, twenty-three percent of recent buyers indicated that convenience to parks or recreational facilities influenced their choice of neighborhoods.  Proximity to parks and recreational facilities was the most important to recent buyers aged 34 and younger, and to those aged 35 to 49.  Here are some reasons to believe those numbers will rise.   Public Health Concerns   The alarming increase in obesity, especially among children, has focused attention on how important physical activity is to our overall wellbeing.  Governments at all levels are promoting the benefits of active living and we have become more receptive to the message.  That means even more people will want accommodations that provide opportunities for physical activity (i.e. near parks and rec).  Further, governments (to save its citizens and reduce health care costs) and businesses (to ensure their developments sell) are improving the planning, design, quality and availability of parks and ...
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Green Renovations — Basements

Virtually all homeowners will find something of use in this detailed and practical fact sheet from Central Mortgage and Housing Corp (CMHC).  If you’re planning a basement renovation, it’s a must read, filled with time, energy and money saving tips, features and advice on how to green any project, from extensive, expensive renos to slower, more affordable and incremental upgrades.   The guide explains nine site factors to consider during the planning stage (structural conditions, air quality and circulation, moisture and water problems, mold, lead, asbestos and soil gases) as well as steps to remediate, when necessary, or incorporate corrective actions into your renovation plans.  There are specific suggestions for each type of upgrade including lighting, plumbing, flooring, painting, mechanical and electrical.   The fact sheet also details CMHC’s  five principles of Healthy Housing™ and  includes a concise checklist that all homeowners contemplating a reno can use.  To read more ...
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Emotional Homebuyers Can Lose Out On The Best Deals

    When we really like a property, we can overlook or downplay its negative aspects.  This homeownership.ca post advises us to approach purchasing a home as a business decision and to remove emotion from the decision.   Before viewing any properties, contact a financial adviser to set your budget, a mortgage broker to get pre-approval for that amount and a real estate agent familiar with the area(s) you like.   Call and introduce yourself to 3 professional home inspectors – one should be available when you’re ready to bid, so you avoid stressful delays, and any temptation to skip the inspection.  The inspection is a critical step that ensures the structure, environment and operating systems of your dream home are safe and sound.   We are often seduced by facade, but the things we cannot see (outdated furnace, inefficient systems, roof defects, foundation problems, building code violations, mold) can ...
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6 Sneaky Ways to Make Your Home Look Expensive

  If you want to convert your home’s look from average to exceptional, this Realtor.com post by Jamie Weibe tells you how.  Remove mismatched decor items, store toys/magazines and organize your things to fix a cluttered appearance.  Clean and re-grout tile to make it look new.  Use traditional, neutral tones to freshen paint in areas that need it.  Upgrading hardware, faucets or countertops are all relatively inexpensive ways to give kitchens and bathrooms a more luxurious appearance.  Adding or rearranging lighting can create an illusion of space and separate rooms.  To read more click here.   ...
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Underwriting insights! What Every Homebuyer Should Know Before Applying for a Mortgage

  This homeownership.ca post tells why an understanding of underwriting is a key advantage for home buyers seeking a mortgage.  Work with a mortgage professional to get pre-approved for a mortgage so you know your price range and can make an offer instantly.  The pre-approval process determines the size of mortgage and type of home you can afford.  You will need to assemble your credit report and other documentation (financial and employment history, creditworthiness, income) the lender or mortgage insurer needs to process the application.  The documentation required varies depending on individual circumstances.  For example, self-employed applicants should be prepared to prove a consistent level of income over at least two years.  To read more click here.     ...
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Create a beautiful bathroom for the ages

  As people age, reduced mobility, impaired balance, failing vision and muscle weakness make them more susceptible to injuries in their home, and bathrooms are no exception.  This Consumer Reports article tells how the latest design trends are helping owners upgrade their bathrooms with changes that enhance safety while retaining their beauty and avoiding an institutional look. In addition, subtle name changes have made useful improvements like shower rails (formerly called grab bars) and higher-seated toilets (“comfort height”) more acceptable.   By widening the bathroom doorway, removing the raised sill and replacing knobs with easier-to-open handles you improve access. Installing slip-resistant tile or vinyl and/or shower bars will reduce the risk of falling.  To reduce glare, mount lights on the side of your mirrors, not above, and bring in natural light with windows or skylights.  Design the sink area to be suitable for all ages and abilities.  Wall mount sinks provide room ...
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Why Cleaning Window Screens Should Be Part of Your Winter Strategy

  Should removing and cleaning the window screens be part of your winter maintenance routine? According to this houzz.com post, there are several benefits to be gained. Simply put, dirty mesh blocks light, heat and the view. For example, you get 30 to 40 percent more light coming in without screens on the windows.  More sunshine means you need less artificial light and can save on energy costs.   In addition, removing the screens increases the solar energy getting through to the windows. Improved solar heat gain reduces the need for mechanical heating saving on heating bills. Also, during a storm, snow gets caught between the window and screen which can damage the frame.   Wait until after the first freeze, to avoid bugs, and take the opportunity to inspect and repair the screens, where necessary.  To avoid damage, vacuum the screens with a brush attachment. Then, use a soft brush or ...
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Ottawa Real Estate Update: November 2015

Mild weather and post-election enthusiasm spurs on home buyers!   Statistics are useful in establishing trends but should not be used as an indicator of an increase or decrease in value of specific properties. If you are curious about the value of your home and/or specific neighbourhood statistics we would love to help. Contact us.         Information below provided by the Ottawa Real Estate Board December 3rd, 2015 Members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board sold 990 residential properties in November through the Board’s Multiple Listing Service® System, compared with 891 in November 2014, an increase of 11.1 per cent. The five-year average for November sales is 944. “Mild temperatures in November, combined with increased activity post-election, were key factors in the Ottawa resale market performing exceptionally well in November,” says David Oikle, President of the Ottawa Real Estate Board. “The positive increase in condo sales may ...
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Not Only Millennials Want Walkable Communities

  A walkable community is well-planned, compact and designed for people to walk to work, school, parks restaurants and activities as a form of everyday transportation.  According to a National Association of Realtors survey, more and more buyers want to live in walkable communities.  The study found that fully 12% more Millennials, the generation born between the mid 1980’s and early 2000’s, would rather walk to their destination than drive.  But, fitness enthusiasts and eco-friendly individuals also desire walkable neighbourhoods.   Aging In Place   Older Canadians want neighbourhoods that better fit their changing requirements.  As baby boomers enter their retirement years, they will increase demand for senior housing and neighborhoods where they can more easily reach amenities, take care of daily needs, and access health care.  The physical and/or financial requirements of maintaining their homes may be too much.  Many cannot, or choose not to drive, so a development that is ...
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