Archives for Housing Tips

Selling in the Summer

Selling your home in summer? It can be grueling to prepare a house for sale in the summer heat but many experts believe that summer is one of the best times to sell a house. Why?… People are out and about! Summer holidays mean that people have more time to devote to buying a home and, for parents of school age children, moving in the summer offers an easier transition for families changing neighbourhoods/schools. Selling your home in summer may also give you more time to devote to preparing your home – it’s a win-win! The Ottawa real estate market remains strong and steady with June stats showing an average price increase of over 7% year over year.  Inventory is down over 25% from this time last year, and with fewer homes for buyers to choose and an increase in multiple offer situations it’s a great time to get your home on the market. Here are some tips… Look at similar properties Setting the right price for your home can be one of the hardest parts of selling, but fortunately there are resources available to you. Contact a Realtor  to provide you with a list of comparable properties. A professionally-prepared current market analysis will include homes that are currently offered for sale and properties that have sold,  including the sale price and number of days on market.  This information that is essential in determining the list price that will get you top dollar.  At Royal LePage, our Realtors  provide a complimentary, no obligation consultation for Sellers.  Looking at similar properties may also give you a few ideas when it comes to staging.  If you see something that works in another house, don’t be afraid to borrow the idea for yours.  Pinterest is also an amazing resource for DIY projects and design inspiration. Make your home anyone’s home You surely love all the unique touches that go into making your house a home, but the point of selling it is to have someone else make it their home. When setting up your house for sale, make sure to tone down the elements that you think might turn potential buyers away. De-cluttering, making sure you’re up to date with home maintenance/repairs and a adding a fresh coat of paint, are just a few ways you can make your house a little more welcoming to people who are looking to make it their own. Maximize your outdoor space While the idea of “dressing up” your outdoor space with a garden gnome in every corner might attract some attention (see the “Clown House” for sale earlier this year in Brantford) clean details, practical storage, comfortable seating and a pop of colour are the fundamentals of an inviting outdoor space, simple is best! Easy access from indoor to outdoor can also help make your home feel bigger and brighter! Increase curb appeal More than at any other time, curb appeal is important to selling a house in the summer. When you have a house for sale, make sure you

Spring Gardening 101

May is here, and with all the April showers we’ve seen this year we are sure to see a lot of flowers appearing soon.  Beautiful gardens and thoughtful landscaping can enhance your property’s curb appeal and make spending time outside more enjoyable, but not everyone has a green thumb!  We’ve collected some helpful tips for those who might need a little help. Planning Your Garden You can start planning your garden at any time, but it is best to have some ideas in mind before you start digging or planting. Here are some things to keep in mind when planning your garden: Decide what kind of plants you want to grow; Flowers? Herbs? Vegetables? A mix? You should also consider whether you want to grow annuals, perennials, or a mix of both. Decide where you want your garden to go, how big you want it to be, and how many plants you want to have in it. As part of the planning process you should check your soil’s drainage and quality if you can, so you will know if you need to make any adjustments. Make sure your garden will get about six full hours of sun per day, the optimum for plant growth. Decide what varieties of plants you want to grow, and find out the growing conditions each needs. Some plants can be planted earlier or later in the year, or need a certain amount of shade. You should take all these things into account when planning your garden. Planting Your Garden Once you have a plan in mind it’s time to get planting. Here are some helpful tips for the down-in-the-dirtiest part of gardening: If you want to plant your garden where you currently have grass, but don’t want to dig up the sod, you can put down five or so layers of newspaper over the section you want to plant. This will kill the grass in the area and start converting it into fertilizer. This will take a few months to work though, so you will need to plan ahead. Before you plant anything, add fertilizer to the soil. This can include composted dirt or solid fertilized, but make sure to mix it into the soil well. You will also want to break up the soil a bit for the plant’s roots, but not too much. If you are in a rush you can start sprouting seeds in your home, or buy plants that have already been sprouted. This way your plants will already be growing when you put them in the ground. No matter whether you are planting seeds or seedlings, make sure you read the instructions on how far enough the plants need to be and how deep to plant them. Make sure to water plants right after planting them, and regularly afterwards. Plants need more water when they are first growing than at any other time, but make sure not to drown them. Maintaining Your Garden Once the planting is done you may

Homeowners Can Earn Extra Income Using Airbnb

Congratulations, you’re a homeowner!  With all of the joys of home-ownership also comes the task of paying off your mortgage, paying property taxes and keeping up with regular maintenance as required.  While you’ve purchased a home within your means, paying off a mortgage can be daunting; however, there are ways in which you can make your payments a little more manageable. If you’ve decided to purchase a home, you’ve put down a certain percentage as a down payment, and you’ve agreed to pay into a mortgage (over the course of x-amount of years with an interest rate of x-percent). You can’t help but to ask yourself, “what can I do to reduce the costs associated with being a homeowner?” Airbnb might just be the answer you’re searching for. With Airbnb you’re able to rent out your home (or second home, depending on whether or not you’ve decided to take out a second mortgage on a retirement property, for instance) to people who are traveling from around the world and need a place to temporarily stay. According to their site, as an Airbnb host you can earn $182 CAD by sharing a single, private room in Ottawa in only 1 week and $331 CAD by sharing your entire home in Ottawa in the same amount of time. And the best part? It’s easy! Simply visit their website, select the “become a host” button, and answer a few basic questions. It’s an extremely reasonable option for you to earn a few extra dollars while renting out your home for only a few short stints at a time, rather than for a full season (or vice versa depending on which home you choose to rent out). Before renting out your home through Airbnb, or any other related service, it’s wise that you first do your homework. Check with your bank: more often than not, you must inform them of the intended use of your property. It goes without saying that receiving a little extra help in lessening your mortgage will undoubtedly feel awesome, but simply make sure you’re providing diligence where it’s due – throughout the entire process. The post Homeowners Can Earn Extra Income Using Airbnb appeared first on Team Realty. Source: Blog

Buying Your Retirement Home

For several years now, Canada’s population of 65-and-overs has been increasing at rapid rates. In fact, in 2015, according to Statistics Canada, there were more Canadians over the age of 65 than there were those under the age of 15 – a pace that has only been growing since 2011. Coincidently, as the Canadian population grows older, the number of Canadian retirees will rise.  So, are you someone who is approaching the first stages of retirement? More importantly, are you ready to retire?   One of the biggest decisions an individual(s) will make upon retirement is purchasing their retirement home. It’s important to consider all of the factors involved. When do you plan to retire? Within the next 5 years? 10?  Do you and your spouse share the same retirement dream? Where would you like to retire? Do you have the proper financial plan?   There are several options that you and your family can consider if retirement is something that’s in your near future and you’re looking to invest in your home before you retire fully. For more information on the following 3 suggestions, follow this link!   Generate income by renting out your retirement home before retiring: income from a rental property can act as a hedge against a low interest rate environment as well as future inflation because you can simply raise the rent to offset inflation when it hits.   Location, location, location. If you’re plan is to buy your retirement home before you retire and use it only on occasion for vacation, for example – be sure to choose your location with careful vigilance and perhaps with little-to-low maintenance.   Be flexible: if you are 10 years or more away from retirement, you may want to opt to rent a vacation home for a month at a time in order to avoid getting stuck with a permanent decision about your retirement destination. Be sure to have a plan that allows you to comfortably afford where you’d like to live.   If you feel financially ready to purchase your retirement home, that’s commendable. Once less step in your retirement process to worry about. This means you’ve had many a conversation with your spouse about “when’s” of planning and preplanning. During these conversations, however, it’s also important to talk about the “where’s” and “how’s”. Location is a key attribute to any retirement plan, as mentioned above. If your dream is to live in the mountains, yet it’s your spouse’s to live on the beach, that’s something you have to talk about in order to find common ground. The same goes for living near your friends, your family, your grandkids – versus, not. Have you tested out your ideal retirement location? What if you long for the mountain air while residing along the beach? According to Market Watch, it’s important to do your research. The post Buying Your Retirement Home appeared first on Team Realty. Source: Blog

Considering Your Lifestyle When House Hunting

Considering Your Lifestyle When House Hunting Buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions you will ever make. As a result, making a smart and focused decision requires an analysis of your unique needs, allowing you to find a home that suits not only those needs but also your lifestyle. In addition to the physical attributes of a home, such as the number of bedrooms and total square footage, you should consider your lifestyle when choosing a home. Evaluate these factors on your next house-hunting adventure. Commute Time Your dream home might not be a dream if a lengthy commute comes with it. After all, hours of your day spent in the car might diminish your quality of life and reduce the time you get to spend in your new home. Consider how long it will take you to get to work, school, and local amenities such as restaurants, grocery stores and shopping centres during your house hunt. Strike a balance between choosing a home in a neighbourhood or part of town you love while staying close enough to work and school so that your commute does not become a daily headache. Walkability If you love to hop on a bike or get your steps in during the day, the walkability of your community is important. Seek out areas of your city that are pedestrian friendly. Take time to drive through the area — not just the neighbourhood– to get a sense of the vibe. Are bike racks set up outside the local restaurants and shops? Are the streets safe for pedestrians? Are jogging trails common throughout the area? If so, you’re probably house hunting in a walkable community, one that will allow you to walk, bike or jog to your favourite local spots. School Choices If you have children or plan on having them, you want to live in a community where they can thrive academically. Take time to research the local schooling options for your kids. Talk to your potential neighbours to find out what they think of the schools. Schedule a school tour to get a sense of the facilities, and then talk to the teachers and administrators. Choose a neighbourhood that features strong educational options for your children. Not only will these schools benefit your kids, they will also increase your property value rates over time. Your dream house extends beyond its walls. Considering the vibe of the community and access to shops, entertainment and schools that you love allows you to make a well-informed decision when it comes to buying your next home.     The post Considering Your Lifestyle When House Hunting appeared first on Team Realty. Source: Blog

Why Move? A Look into Canada’s Homebuyers

How many times have you moved (so far) in your lifetime? Once? Twice? For a brief time while in school? Work? Or have you moved far too many times to even count? What about those times that you have moved from one place to another, were they on your own? Were they with your family? Your partner? A few friends? And did you live in these homes for long enough to consider it a home? Sure, the vast majority of us may answer differently to each of these questions, but we do share one common factor: the overall experience. Truth be told, moving from one home to another is not a simple task. Take the multitude of varying questions asked above, for instance. The process of moving can, unmistakeably, be that of a strenuous, complex task that requires much consideration and absolute certainty. So choose wisely and with reason in mind.  Canadians tend to, on average, move every 5 years; but there is that 14% of us who get that 12-month itch and move every year. This is where the aforementioned advice of having a reason to move comes into play. Here’s a small breakdown of why Canadians move according to ComFree Living: Job relocation (53%) Increase in family size: marriage, kids etc. (42%) Family size decrease: divorce, empty nest etc. (20%) Retirement (18%) Came into more money (14%) Home was in need of renovations (14%) Evidently, we move as life happens. Young, old, together, and apart – we move. Homeowners acting on their urge to move every five years, however, could result in financial hardships. Over a span of 60 years, this could equate to as much as $180,000 [and above] in traditional real estate agent commissions and, of course, other required real estate fees. Needless to say, decipher a plan that works for you. Moreover, the real estate market undoubtedly foresees a hefty increase in both first-time homeowners, as well as new buyers within the next several years due to the growing millennial generation. According to Dana Senegama, market analyst for the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp, “[millennials] are going to be a force to be reckoned with over the next decade, especially as they move into their prime child-rearing years and [in need of] more space”. This said, it is with these 15-34 year-olds that new jobs, larger families and more spacious homes will be pursued, obtained, and thus required in the next coming years. Moving can be quite overwhelming for some. However, if you look to your future and sit down with your family in order to plan your move accordingly, the process will become that much more seamless. So come up with a strategy – a roadmap of where you see yourself growing and building a home – and live in that home for as long as you see fit. The post Why Move? A Look into Canada’s Homebuyers appeared first on Team Realty. Source: Blog

Getting Your Home Ready to Sell in the Spring Market

Selling your Home in Spring The spring real estate market is quickly approaching and if you’re selling your home, now is the time to start getting ready!  It may seem like a daunting task but there are things that you can do to make sure that your house is prepared for the droves of spring buyers this upcoming season. Remember, there will be many houses on the market at the same time as yours so you want to make sure that your property is ready and sticks out for buyers! Contact a Realtor®. Real estate agents are professionals.  A great real estate agent will not only ensure your property is priced right, they’ll also be your guide through every step of the process in the weeks and months leading up to listing, during the time your home is listed, the closing of your property sale and beyond. Prioritize Repairs One of the first things you will want to ask yourself when selling your home is whether your property needs any repairs, as it can be the most time consuming. The best way to do this is to walk through both your home and property and “write down anything that doesn’t function or is unsightly”. Start at one end of your home and work your way through each room carefully, looking for potential problems. Try to put yourself in the shoes of a potential buyer and be picky. This could be everything from a small hole in the wall, chipped paint, or leaky faucet all the way up to larger fixes like a leaky roof or cracked foundation. Once you have your list, it’s time to prioritize, “List out first the small things that will repair quickly and inexpensively, with an extra focus on items that will be seen first by potential buyers.” And last but not least, come up with a plan. Hiring someone to do the work for you may be the most time effective, but it may not be within your budget. If you plan on doing it yourself, schedule the time you will need right away and make sure to leave some extra in case things don’t go as planned. Stage Your Home Next comes decluttering, depersonalizing, and staging your home. If you look at photos of real estate listings, you’ll notice one thing; the houses are generally neat and tidy and have an airy feel to them. The reason for this is that the day to day clutter of living in a home has been removed. “You might like the stack of magazines on the table, buyers don’t. They don’t want to know what you read”. Start purging, and if you have lots of stuff, you may even want to consider renting a storage locker to house it while your house is on the market. You will also want to remove as many personal items from your home as possible. Take your family photos off the wall, and remove any items that are personal in nature; buyers

Pets and Real Estate

Pets are a very important part of many Canadians lives. In 2014, it was estimated that 57% of Canadians owned pets which equates to approximately 7.5 million households. In many cases, our pets become part of our families to the point where terms like “pet parent” and “fur baby” are used to define this unique relationship. But what impact do pets have when it comes to real estate? Buying a Home with our Pets in Mind Pets affect our choices in real estate. When we buy a home, we consider the needs of our family, which often enough includes our pets. In a recent survey, 81% of respondents said that animal-related considerations play a role in deciding their next living situation, 52% undertook a renovation to accommodate their pet, and 89% would not give up their animal because of housing restrictions or limitations. For example, dog owners may choose a house because it has a larger fenced property for the dog to run, or cat owners may choose a house with a basement to house the unsightly litter box. And like homebuyers who are planning for a family, some are choosing properties in anticipation of one day having a pet. Pets Depreciate a Home? So, is it safe to say that some “pet friendly” features will make your home more appealing if you’re trying to sell? Perhaps, but the pets themselves may depreciate the value of your home. Pets can affect a home’s “cleanliness and smell” and this can deter potential buyers.  And it is also important to remember, that a significant number of people are allergic to pets and may not even consider viewing a home that has housed animals. “But it’s not just odour or pet hair that’s a problem. Yellow or dying grass in the front or backyard, half-chewed toys littered in yards or across rooms, as well as open or smelly litter boxes can prompt concerns, even in pet-loving buyers.”  Keep in mind that prospective buyers may love their own pets but that doesn’t mean that they love yours, so you want to rid your home of all signs of your beloved animals. But rest assured, there are a few steps you can take that don’t involve saying goodbye to your beloved family friend in order to maintain the value of your investment: You will want to thoroughly clean your home before putting it on the market, with extra attention paid to your floors. It may also be wise to call in a professional to help you with this task. As pet owners, we often don’t notice the odours from our own animals within our home; we have gotten used to them so it is wise to have someone else come in and check for noticeable odours. If your animal has urinated in the house, replace the affected carpeting or flooring. Sometimes the smell can be difficult to remove otherwise. Stains and smells will devalue your home. Remove pets from the home while it is on the

6 Spring Maintenance Tips for Homeowners

  As the snow finally melts after what has seemed like a never-ending winter, it’s time to start thinking about all the spring maintenance tasks that you will need to around your home. Spring always feels like a fresh start so use that as motivation as you work around your yard and home! Here are 6 spring maintenance tasks for homeowners: Check the roof There is no need to pull out a ladder at this point; stand back from your home and do a visual inspection: “with binoculars and a keen eye, you can probably spot trouble.” Winter snow and ice can be very tough on roofs, so look for shingles that have shifted or are lifting. If you notice anything, it is always advisable to call in a professional. Check your outside faucets  You hopefully took the time in the fall to shut off the water and drain outside faucets properly, but it is always wise to check them carefully to ensure that the pipes did not freeze and crack. There are a few simple things you can do to check them. Turn the water on and block the faucet with either your thumb or finger; if you can stop the flow, there is likely a leak inside your home. Also, with the water on, check the pipes inside for leaks. Clean your air conditioner  Be ready for that warm summer weather by cleaning your air conditioner now. Make sure that it is clear of any debris (leaves etc.) and vacuum out any dust or dirt that might have settled in it over the winter months. Trim back any trees or bushes  “Spring is a good time to trim branches of shrubs and trees away from your house —get an early start before leaves grow and while you can see individual limbs.”  Small jobs can generally be handled by homeowners but know your limitations; hiring a professional arborist is always the best idea for larger tasks. Clean up your lawns  Rake away any of the debris left behind from winter; this will allow your lawn to grow better. Examine your lawn for spots that may need to be seeded, you will want to do this soon as grass seed doesn’t do well in the hot summer sun! Clean the Gutters  Get the ladder out and clean those gutters! They are probably full of leaves and other debris from the fall and winter. Remember, gutters are very important for the drainage around your home and this often neglected task should be done twice a year! The post 6 Spring Maintenance Tips for Homeowners appeared first on Team Realty. Source: Blog

Your Home and Winter Travels

January is often a time to make travel plans. In fact, the winter months are quite possibly the most traveled; holiday visits to family members aside, some of us just simply need to get away and enjoy a little warmth in the sunny south. So if all the shoveling, ice scraping and bundling has got you down, it might be time for you to pack those bags! With all the excitement of travel plans, we mustn’t forget to consider the safety of our homes. Especially for “snowbirds”, there are periods of time where we might not be home for weeks at a time.  As part of travel preparation, we should make certain that our homes are safe while we are away. It’s important to keep a few significant safety precautions front of mind when planning out your getaways, beyond the routine locking of your doors. Creating the illusion that someone is home is key. A few tips to keep your home safe while away: Set your lights on a timer so that your home is never in complete darkness. “You can also set the television and radio on a timer to create the typical noise and flickering lights of an average family home at night”. Arrange for a snow removal. Whether it’s a neighbour, a close friend or a snow removal service, this is an important part of keeping up the illusion that someone is home. Have someone check your mailbox regularly. An alternative to this would be to forward your mail. Canada Post has mail forwarding programs so that, if you’re away from your home for long periods of time, you can “rest easy, knowing you’re not missing important mail”. Invite a close friend or family member stay at your home while you are on vacation. Especially if you have pets, if you have someone you absolutely trust, this can be an awesome way to keep your home safe and save money on kennel or animal boarding. Traveling over the winter months should be something that you look forward to, stress-free (at all costs); and it’s doable if you plan accordingly and are diligent in taking the necessary precautions toward safeguarding your home. Happy travels! The post Your Home and Winter Travels appeared first on Team Realty. Source: Blog

New Year Reno-Resolutions

A new year tends to go hand in hand with a New Year’s resolution (or two). We’ve all been there: eat healthier, get healthier, save more, sleep more etc. etc. So what about the expansions, the over-hauls, and/or the restorations of our current homes? Typically, there are a large handful of us who include home renovations in their list of New Year’s to-dos, and we’re not necessarily talking about the sporadic spring clean and/or the occasional winter prep; but, instead, the opportunity to really do something for the structural improvement and/or visual well-being of our homes. So where do you stand on the home renovation scale? Perhaps this is the year to make it a part of your resolution list.   According to CMHC, “Ontarians spent an estimated $25 billion on renovations last year, a figure that the housing agency says is forecast to keep increasing in the coming years”. In a recent article, courtesy of CBC, these increases in home renovations are because “the housing market itself is booming, and most buyers typically undergo some sort of renovation job within the first 12 months after they buy”. And if you think that the above statistic is high, consider the fact that there are even more people who choose to renovate their homes years after they’ve moved in a settled. That’s an extremely large portion of us who, at one point in time or another, will work toward truly making their home their own.   What are your go-to’s when prioritizing your reno projects? In the latest Statistics Canada poll, some of the most popular have been to upgrade your basement, to paint and/or wallpaper, to improve your heating and/or air conditioning, and to landscape your front and/or back yard.  After all, the majority of homes that currently stand in the province of Ontario were constructed in the 1980s and are just about due for “a few licks of paint – or more”. Renovating your home can be a fun way to challenge yourself to complete a few projects around the completion of your home. As years come and go, so do design trends, your home’s structural stability, and even family members. Don’t be afraid to make your home feel like new – personalize it and make it your own! It’s never too late. The post New Year Reno-Resolutions appeared first on Team Realty. Source: Blog

Housing Trends in 2017

The New Year is officially underway and we are ready to reflect on the year that has passed, as well as plan for the year that’s to come. With the housing market being consistently ever-changing, new trends tend to surface as old ones seem to fade. 2016 was a big year for the housing market and, as a result, we saw some pretty impressive reports, results, and trends. This year, the housing forecast and its trends will predictably be as follows:   The Canadian Real Estate Association has released recent information on Canada’s housing trends and how they’ve evolved since last September. For starters, Ontario’s sales are set to continue to grow and set records “despite an unprecedented supply shortage in the Greater Toronto Area and surrounding regions“. With this being said, and with the Canadian Government tightening down and implementing new mortgage regulations in 2016, it’s predicted that 2017 will see less first-time home buyers who “qualify for mortgage financing, particularly in the pricier markets where there is a severe shortage of lower-priced listings”. On the other hand, however, these mortgage rules and lending guidelines will likely boost “capital costs for lenders, resulting in modest increases in mortgage interest rates in the New Year”.  For more information about the 2017 housing forecast, visit The Canadian Real Estate Association’s website at www.crea.ca.   Moreover, with the renovation “boom” that is supposedly underway in 2017, and with residents in Ontario having spent approximately $25 billion renovating their homes in 2016, people are expanding on their current homes – and downsizing less. According to CBC, “aging Canadian homeowners are increasingly deciding to stay where they are and renovate instead, especially since more adult children are still living under their roof”.  In fact, with Ontario’s housing stock aging with each passing year (and with this year marking the majority of Ontario’s home’s 40th birthdays) homeowners and landlords are more inclined spend their money on renovations to expand on or improve their homes rather than on selling or downsizing. “With a larger share of young adults staying home longer due to economic and academic considerations, the need for space will remain important”, says the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation. Besides, “it’s hard to downsize out of the family home is the nest isn’t quite empty yet”.   With home renovations almost always being a topical conversation to be had with homeowners and designers alike, the New Year tends to inspire its residents with new design trends as they surface. According to the Ottawa Citizen, “homeowners are looking to incorporate in-home retreats where they can escape from technology and the world around them”. Essentials for these rooms are, of course, comfort, quiet, and neutral surroundings. Furthermore, these trendy areas of “escape” are being seen in several residential developments as well. “Brigil’s Petrie’s Landing I, for example, will incorporate an outdoor deck complete with a cooking area and swimming pool for condo owners to use”. Great spaces, of course, for enjoying time spent on your own,

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. The post The Do’s and Dont’s of Basement Storage appeared first on Team Realty. Source: Blog

Packing Tips for a Clever Move

Moving soon? What to do? How to do it? Here are a few packing tips to help in my article from the magazine Power2DoIt – Just click on the link below for more! Packing Tips for a clever move

Realtors can help you find a rental property, really?

Did you know a Realtor can help you find a rental property? In most cases at no cost to you! Read my article in Power2doit to know more or contact me to discuss your options 613-612-HOME (4663) – Click on the link below for the article!   Realtors can help you find a rental property, really?

Buying a home and planning on moving sooner than later?

Buying a home that is not your forever home but perfect for now! Read my article in Power2DoIt by clicking on the link below for some valuable tips on how to proceed for a profitable investment. Buying a Home and Planning on Moving Sooner than Later