Home and Ottawa Real Estate News and Market Trends 

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything including local Ottawa market happenings, statistics and home values, and home renovations and style. That’s because we care about our community and want to help you find your place in it. Please leave comments and/or reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you! 

Jan. 21, 2022

6 New Year’s Resolutions That Can Help You Buy Your First Investment Property

Saving for Your First Investment Property

WooHoo for 2022! It’s another year to achieve new milestones. Have you set your goals yet? Could this year be the right year to invest in your first property. If you are planning to buy your first property soon, it would be helpful to make some lifestyle changes to prepare yourself for the responsibilities of being a property investor and homeowner.

Here are 6 New Year’s resolutions that can help you buy your first investment property:

1. Set specific life goals.

Goal-setting might have always been a part of your new year routine. Every year, you set goals but the important question is – are your goals specific enough? This year, try setting specific life goals. Instead of simply saying that you want to have a healthier lifestyle, identify what you mean by it. Is it having a fit body, eating healthier, or taking care of your mental health more?

If you want to include buying your first property in your life goals, make sure to be specific. How big is the property that you are planning to buy? How many bedrooms? Which area? What’s your budget? When would you like to buy your dream property? Specific goals are more likely achievable because you are able to strategize on how you will achieve it.

2. Make a budget and stick to it.

This is probably one of the resolutions that always makes it to almost everyone’s list. So make sure not to forget this one for this year as well especially if you are planning to buy your first investment property soon. When we don’t have a specific budget, we tend to splurge. Instead of saving our extra money, we spend it on unnecessary things. By having a budget and strictly sticking to it, you get to save for more important and bigger things like buying a home. Don't overcomplicate the budget. Keep it simple enough that you can stick to it. You will likely need to adjust as you go with the ongoing pandemic and the consequent inflation we are experiencing.

3. Pay off credit cards in full.

Since credit cards are high-interest loans, they can highly affect how much you can save for a new home. This year, make it a habit to pay off your credit cards in full and on time. Not only will this habit help you in managing your finances wisely but it will also help you build a good credit score. A good credit score is crucial in financing a home. It will determine whether or not your loan application will get accepted, how much you can get for a loan, and a good credit score means you are most likely to be offered a lower interest rate. We had this particular goal on our family's vision board to keep it present in our minds and it did help.

4. Create automatic savings.

Save money regularly like how you would pay for your monthly bills. Put money in your savings first before you proceed with your expenses. You might be tempted to treat yourself every time you get your paycheque. This is totally understandable because you worked hard for it. It is okay to treat yourself from time to time but remind yourself of your goal to buy your first investment property. To avoid the temptation of spending your money, put it in your savings on the day that you receive your paycheque. Setting aside some money will help keep your finances in check in case there are emergencies.

5. Live below your means.

Have you heard about living below your means? This might sound challenging at first since you are used to your current lifestyle. But by making simple lifestyle changes and with the right mindset, you can definitely master frugal living. Living below your means doesn’t mean that you have to restrict yourself too much. It simply means that you need to avoid a lavish lifestyle and distinguish the things that you need and the things that you want. This is a simple habit that will definitely be a big help to your finances. Fancy coffees and restaurant meals are two things people often find success limiting. 

6. Educate yourself.

One more thing that you need to do that will help you in buying your first investment property is to keep yourself educated. Keep yourself updated with the latest news on the real estate market. This will let you know the right timing in buying an investment property. It would also be best to talk to a real estate agent. We are knowledgeable in the field and will be able to give you all the information that you need. They can also help you in finding the perfect property for your first investment property.

Once you finally find a property that will work for you as an investment all your efforts and sacrifices in sticking to these resolutions will definitely be worth it. 


Dec. 15, 2021

5 Reasons Why Every Homeowner Should Consider Selling Their Home in The Winter

5 Reasons to Sell Your House in Winter

When you think of the best timing of selling your home, winter might not be the first season that comes to mind! Aside from the freezing temperature outside, people are often preoccupied with the holiday season! However, there are many reasons why you should consider selling your home during the winter. 

I sold and bought in the winter and was very happy I did when I was able to negotiate a closing date that was very important to me. I remember asking the moving company, "What happens if we have a blizzard?" They told me they still are a go! Well whether it was a coincidence or I suggested it to the universe, but I did move in a blizzard. I was surprised but it all worked out well and the details make a great story. (As an aside, I also moved on the hottest day of the year in July. I would take winter any time!)

If you want to sell your home during the winter but are hesitant, here are five reasons to do it!

1. The buyers are serious.

Unlike popular belief, demand does not really go that low during winter. And while it is not the peak buying season, the buyers that will encounter are much more serious and motivated. The buyers you will encounter during winter are often in a rush, are ready to make offers, and plan on moving in before or after the new year. This is a great advantage for sellers because you don’t have to waste your time with buyers who are just looking.

2. There Is less competition.

You won’t have that much competition if you sell your home during winter. Many people decide against listing their homes during winter and wait for Spring instead. With less competition, it will be easier for your listing to stand out. You’ll be able to have a higher chance at attracting buyers and selling your home much quicker and at a better deal for you.

3. Loans are processed quicker.

For lenders, winter is a time when the inventory is smaller and they have more time to process loans. Since loans can be processed more quickly than other seasons, your selling process will be much smoother and your road to closing will be faster. If you or your buyer is in a rush to close the home before the new year, your buyers will not have s problem processing their loans.

4. You can get better deals.

Since there is less competition and buyers are much more motivated during this season, you can definitely negotiate better deals with your buyers. According to Redfin, listings during winter actually sell faster and for more money. Make sure to stage your home, create a good and sound contract, and have it inspected so you can put a premium on its price. You can take advantage of serious buyers and try to sell your property at a higher price and better payment terms.

5. It’s a great way to start the year.

If you’ve been wanting to sell your home or if there’s an inevitable reason to do it, doing it before the start of the year is definitely the best time. The end of the year is the perfect time to let go of your property. It is the perfect timing for Spring where you’ll be able to move on and start anew without carrying any pieces of baggage from the year before.

Selling your home during the winter, whether it’s because of financial reasons, relocation, or if it’s an investment property you’ve been holding on to, is a decision that you will be thankful for when Springtime comes.

If you think that it’s best for you to wait for Spring or Fall to sell your home, you might want to reconsider. While there are many factors that can contribute to your listing being sold, winter can definitely be a good time to sell it if you give it a chance. Keep these five reasons in mind the next time you hesitate on selling a home during winter!


Nov. 10, 2021

What Millennials Need to Begin Investing in Rental Properties

What Millennials Need to Begin Investing in Rental Properties

Investing in real estate has been proven to be a great option for previous generations of investors.

However,  with high market entry points, many millennials are finding the best way for them to enter the market is by choosing more flexible investment options. 

Investing in rental properties can be a great entry point in investing in real estate since it can serve as a long-term passive income while providing cash flow. Millennials also have the advantage of knowing how to market their rental properties to the younger generation.

Investing in real estate might not give quick returns, but it is profitable in the long run. Here are several ways millennials can start investing in rental properties.

1. Establish your credit score

Your credit score can have a big impact on getting approved for a mortgage and getting good terms. Many millennials struggle in building their credit score because of financial constraints. While it might take some time and effort to establish a credit score that’s good enough to be accepted by lenders, there are still many simple steps to improve it.

How you manage your credit card is one factor that can leave a big impact on your credit score. It’s important to not go over your credit card limit and to make timely payments. If you are unable to pay your total balance, make sure to pay at least a portion of it before the due date. It’s important to keep your credit at 30% or less of your total credit limit.

2. Save up for a down payment

The next step is saving up for a down payment. Once you are pre-approved for a loan, the down payment is the biggest chunk of money that you will need when buying a rental property. You would need to deposit at least 20% of a property’s contract price. To prepare for this, you can do your research in advance on the market value of current listings before you decide to buy a rental property.

3. Calculate the rental property’s Return on Investment (ROI)

Once you have a target rental property, you’ll want to calculate the property’s potential return on investment. You’ll need to get initial figures on monthly rent prices in the area as well as your expenses. For the expenses, you’ll need to consider the initial expenses, operational expenses, vacancy periods, repairs and fixtures, among others.

The best way to calculate a property’s ROI is to analyze the current market trends and to make sure that you are accounting for all the expenses, including the interest. Stay on top of rates as having them change will affect your overall budget. You’ll also need to identify and assess the risks. Projecting your ROI is the best way to decide whether the investment is worth it in the long run. Please send a private message or add a comment below if you would like more specific details.

4. Manage the property on your own

As a millennial starting out in the rental industry, you can skip hiring a property manager and choose to manage it on your own, especially if your budget is too small. Managing a property can seem easy to do, but it can also take a lot of time and hard work.

You’ll need to learn certain skills that will help you manage the property efficiently. First, you’ll need to know the right qualities to look for in a tenant. You’ll also need to know the Landlord and Tenant Act in Ontario inside out and set property rules accordingly. You’ll also need to know how to handle unruly tenants and other conflicts that may occur. Moreover, accounting for your finances and knowing how to repair broken fixtures are also skills that you’ll need. Know your DIY limits though and hire professionals for jobs that would impact safety.

5. Consider house hacking

House hacking is buying a property, such as a single-family home or duplex, and having parts of your home rented out to generate income. House hacking is popular among millennials because it is a great way to cut down on housing expenses. When you commit to this type of investment, you’ll be able to cover your mortgage and monthly utilities while enjoying tax deductions. It is also a great start if you want to ease into investing in more rental properties in the future.

Investing in real estate might seem like a big commitment, but it’s a smart long-term financial move. Not only will you yield high capital gains, but you’ll also have a regular cash flow available while benefitting from tax deductions. Make sure to follow these tips to make your investing journey easier.


Oct. 17, 2021

6 Common Reasons Real Estate Deals Fall Through

6 Common Reasons Real Estate Deals Fall Through

Acquiring the real estate contract for a property doesn't mean that the deal is already done and successful.

Of course, it is something that you can celebrate after all that you have gone through in the buying process. But you need to remind yourself that there are still many things that can happen between the contract date and the closing date. There are possible problems that may arise. It can be an issue with a real estate agent, the buyer, the mortgage, the seller, the property itself, or a combination of all. To ensure the success of your real estate deal, it is best to know the common reasons real estate deals fall through.

Here are the things that you should watch out for:

1. Home inspection issues

The home inspection is an important part of the home-buying process. It is where you can assess whether or not some issues or repairs need to be done in the home. In most cases wherein major issues are found during the inspection, real estate deals fall through. These major issues can include molds, pests, foundation or structural issues, electrical issues, water pressure issues, roof damage, well, septic system, and building code issues.

If you are a home seller, it is best to have your home inspected even before listing your property on the market. This will give you a chance to address possible issues before a potential buyer knows about them. It will help you avoid problems that could cause your buyer to withdraw their offer.

2. Buyer’s failure to sell their current home

Another common reason real estate deals fall through is when a buyer fails to sell their current home on time. When buyers purchase a new home while still waiting to sell their current home, they may submit an offer with a home sale contingency. This means that they can withdraw their offer if they aren’t able to sell their current home within a certain period. Some homes take a longer time to sell than other homes. If this happens, the real estate deal has a high chance of falling through.

3. Rejection of mortgage application

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is a must when buying a home. However, a pre-approval doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be approved for the mortgage. While lenders do their best to ensure that the pre-approvals reach the closing date, sometimes, there are just some things that the lender has no control over. Some of the reasons that may cause the mortgage to be rejected are the buyer’s loss of a job or sudden health issues. 

Sometimes it is as simple as a misunderstanding between the lender and the buyer. For example, a nurse during the pandemic is working full-time hours and tells the mortgage agent that they work full-time and can show a pay statement that reflects that information. However, when the information is confirmed with the employer the employer reports that the nurse is a part-time worker and does not have the security of a full-time permanent position. The lender may pull the deal based on this new knowledge.

4. Bank appraisal issues

If there are issues with the bank appraisal, a real estate deal can fall through. Real estate deals that involve obtaining a mortgage will need to undergo a satisfactory bank appraisal. If a bank appraiser determines that the value of the property is less than the sale price, it can be a problem. The buyer and the seller may negotiate and come to terms depending on the difference of the amount or the buyer may have to make up the difference in cash between the mortgage amount and the agreed-upon sale price. Family members have often been called upon during the sharp rise in prices during the pandemic to help with that appraisal and purchase price gap. If the value of the property is much less than its sale price, the real estate deal will likely fall through.

5. Problems with closing documents

Before closing a real estate deal, various documents need to be reviewed. Common problems usually involve problems with the title of the property such as outstanding liens, public record errors, past bankruptcies, or missing heirs. For both the buyer and seller, it would be best to prepare the needed documents early so you will have enough time to address possible issues. A good real estate agent and your lawyer will help you with the documents that you will need to close the property sale.

6. Closing costs

Another reason that causes a real estate deal to fall through is when a buyer fails to foresee and prepare enough money for closing costs. Closing costs include attorney fees, appraisal fees, homeowners’ insurance, transfer fees, and property taxes among others. The amount of the closing costs can be significant and failure to set aside money for it can cause your real estate deal to fall through. Your real estate agent can help explain the potential costs to you.

A good real estate agent is essential

It is not just about finding the perfect home and looking for the right deal. It is important to have a trusted real estate agent who will guide you throughout the whole process and prepare you for any issue that could arise during the real estate deal. With a competent and knowledgeable real estate agent, you are guaranteed that there is someone who will efficiently help you address all possible concerns.



Posted in Buyers, Sellers
Sept. 17, 2021

What You Need To Know Before You Buy Your First Rental Property

What you need to know before you buy your first rental property

Buying your first rental property is a big decision and a huge leap forward for any aspiring investor. 

A rental property is one of the largest assets that you can own and can be a great way to generate passive income. However, all investments come with a risk. Owning a rental property can also require various skills, lots of time, and hard work on your part as a landlord.

So, before you decide to buy a rental property, ask yourself these questions:

Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Buy a Rental Property

What are my financial goals?

Am I prepared for the extra expenses?

Where is the best location for my rental property?

What kind of tenant am I looking for?

Am I ready to be a landlord?

Who will manage my property?

Have I weighed the risks vs. the rewards?

5 Steps to Buying Your First Rental Property:

1. Arrange your financing

The first step to buying any property is to get pre-approved to know how much money you can qualify for. Once you know what your potential budget is, it will be easier to make decisions once you start searching for the best rental property. Unlike homes purchased for you to live in, properties intended as an investment usually require at least 20% of the down payment.

2. Determine your ROI (Return on Investment)

Before diving into any investment, you must consider your ROI. During the early stages of the home buying process, you must at least have a rough estimate of your ROI.

You can calculate your ROI by finding the property’s net annual income. The net annual income is the rental income that is left after you have paid for all the expenses. These expenses are composed of the taxes, monthly mortgage, insurance, property management fees, repairs, an estimated potential vacancy period, and any other utilities that you pay for as a landlord.

By calculating your ROI, you are one step closer to determining if the rental property is a good investment or not.

3. Find a rental property

When it’s finally time to search for the rental property, make sure that you know how to spot a good one. The first step is doing your research so that you know what to look for. You would want a house that requires low maintenance and has limited vacancies. This allows you to have a good rent-to-value ratio.

It might be tempting because of its low price, but you would want to avoid fixer-uppers for your first rental property as it will cost you too much money to renovate.

When scanning neighbourhoods for your first rental, there are a few specific requirements you should be looking for. In a nutshell, you want a house that requires low maintenance, has limited vacancies and allows you to have a good rent-to-value ratio.

Condos may look like a good option concerning maintenance, pay attention to your thoughts about the building maintenance as you walk through it and also ensure you have documentation regarding the buildings’ status certificate that is a financial snapshot of the building’s condition and the identity of who manages the property. You can then research the property management company to find out if they have a good reputation.  In Ontario, all condo management services must have a licence granted by the Condominium Management Services Act 2015.

4. Hire a property manager

When you finally secure your rental property, it’s time to manage the unit. Owners who have no time or don’t want to become stressed with the day-to-day tasks of being a landlord can hire a property manager. In a condo situation, this would be the person who manages your unit, not the building. Unless you are self-managing, you would want to hire a property manager that can take care of your property. The tasks of a landlord include finding and screening tenants, making contracts, collecting monthly rent, and taking care of repairs and other issues that may arise.

Aside from these tasks, owners must keep themselves updated about the landlord-tenant laws in their area (Ontario) and the nature of disputes that arise between landlords and tenants.

Owners should also keep their operating expenses under control and the rental property returns growing. Many people prefer to have a hired property manager so they can reap the benefits of having passive rental income with only a small expense to pay and a lot less stress.

5. Track income and expenses

Keeping a record of your income and expenses should be an ongoing task if you want to succeed at being a rental property owner. Taxes, insurance, utilities, repairs, and other expenses can eat up your profit. This will also help you cut down expenses on things that aren’t necessary. Make sure that you know where your money is going to assess whether you will be able to make a profit in the long run.

Are you ready to buy?

Think carefully and do enough research before buying your first rental property. When investing in property, it’s important to understand the risks and to keep a long-term view. Not only do you want the cash flow to be positive, but you want your asset to grow which means having good tenants and good property maintenance. When you do it right, your rental property will soon be able to provide you with a stable cash flow and positive returns.

Have more questions about rental properties? Let’s have a chat and I’ll be happy to answer all your questions.

Aug. 16, 2021

First Time Home Buyers and Credit: 6 Mistakes to Avoid

First Time Home Buyers and Credit 6 mistakes to avoid

Seasoned investors and previous homeowners probably already know that one of the most crucial factors that affect the home purchase is the home buyer’s credit.

Having a strong credit score can give the buyer an advantage when applying for a loan. It will determine whether or not your application will get approved and how much your interest rate will be. The better your score the better the rate that will be offered to you.

When planning to buy a home, it is a basic requirement to check your credit. But most first-time homebuyers tend to overlook this step and commit mistakes regarding this matter. To let you do things differently, here are 6 credit mistakes that first time home buyers should avoid:

1. Not reviewing your credit report earlier

It is a common practice for homebuyers to review their credit report. But some homebuyers fail to review their credit report early and end up not having enough time to fix the errors and concerns encountered. When you are seeing your credit report for the first time, some concerns that you may encounter may include wrong identification, wrong address information, or incorrectly reported accounts. These can have an impact on your credit score and can affect your mortgage application. Make sure to review your credit report early as these issues may take a while to be resolved. It is better to get everything resolved before you proceed with your loan application.

2. Not cleaning up your credit before applying for a loan

As mentioned in the previous point, all issues concerning your credit must be resolved before you proceed with your loan application. This includes cleaning up your credit. Unless you can purchase a home with cash, you will be applying for a loan and the lenders will probably be looking at your credit score.

To have a good credit score, it is important to clear all debts and pay your bills on time. As soon as you think of buying your first home, whether it’s months or a few years away, the best thing that you can do aside from saving for the down-payment is by making sure you maintain a good credit score. The earlier you start, the more time you have to fix your credit. You should aim for a higher credit score as it will give you a higher chance of getting approved for a mortgage with lower interest rates.

3. Not getting pre-approved before house hunting

Once you have identified how much you can afford for your first home, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are ready for house-hunting. Setting your budget wouldn’t be enough for you to be able to find your first home. It would be easier to find a home and provide a proper offer if you have a pre-approval.

Getting pre-approved has a lot of advantages for buyers. For instance, sellers will be more likely to accept your offer as they will look at you as a serious buyer. Having a pre-approval is proof that you are capable of financing your property purchase. Hence, your credibility as a buyer will be an advantage when sellers assess the offers presented to them.

4. Accepting the first mortgage offer

Another credit mistake that first-time homebuyers tend to commit is not looking at multiple lenders. If your credit score is not as good as you expect it to be, it might be tempting to accept the very first mortgage offer that you get approved for. However, this first mortgage offer might turn out to have a higher interest rate. As a result, you will end up paying more money in the long run. Keep in mind that accepting the first offer isn’t always the best decision when it comes to your mortgage.

Discuss with your real estate agent and identify what is the best strategy for you. If you do not have a very impressive credit score, evaluate your finances and assess how long it will take you to be able to raise your credit score. If you think you can fix your credit score soon, giving yourself a few more months before you accept a mortgage might be a good strategy. This will give you time to improve what needs to be improved. In return, you’ll be able to save more money as you will get to receive mortgage offers with lower interest rates.

5. Ignoring first-time homebuyer programs

Government first-time homebuyer programs are very helpful ways to help you build your down-payment through borrowing from your RRSP or by saving land transfer taxes on your first home. Your real estate agent can help you identify and take advantage of these programs.

6. Opening credit during the underwriting process

While you are waiting for the closing of your property deal, you will be excited about your move-in date. You have probably thought of the furniture that you will be purchasing for your home and how you will decorate your new home. This entails more expenses and you might have considered getting a new credit card or in-store/online financing. However, you need to keep in mind that this isn’t a good idea.

Your mortgage pre-approval is based on the credit record and debt-to-income ratio at the time you applied. Hence, adding more credit can jeopardize your loan application and approval. The pre-approval letter is not the same thing as an approval letter and may cause you grief if you have an approved purchase agreement without an escape clause if your mortgage is not approved.

After all, these six mistakes can make or break your investment. By avoiding these six mistakes, you get to save more money and make the most out of your first real estate purchase. To ensure that you’re committing to the right choice, do not hesitate to reach out to us or your real estate agent.

We will always be more than willing to help you make the right choices for your first real estate investment.

July 10, 2021

What Today’s Homebuyers Are Looking For

What Today's Homebuyers are Looking For

Different home buyers have different criteria when it comes to looking for a new home.

Some buyers purchase a home because of its location. Some buyers prioritize the size of the house especially if they have a growing family. However, they all have one thing in common – they want a home where they can live comfortably and a property that will increase its value over time. Aside from the specific features that they want in a home, based on their preferences, they want a house that will be worth their money.

If you are selling a home or planning to sell one soon, it would be best to know what today’s homebuyers are looking for. This will help give your property an advantage and get you a good offer. Here are just a few things of what today’s home buyers are looking for:


An important thing that homebuyers look for in a home is its location. This would probably be the first thing that most homebuyers consider when looking for a home. They start with the location. Is it near their workplace? What are the nearby establishments? Are there parks, groceries, hospitals, and schools? What about transportation? It would be convenient if public transportation is accessible. If homebuyers prefer driving their own car, they would definitely want to check the traffic and know about how long it takes to drive in and out of the neighbourhood.

Hardwood floors

Most homebuyers prefer new homes with hardwood floors. Aside from the clean look, it is more durable and easier to maintain than carpets. Carpets need to be replaced after a few years and also need to be cleaned regularly. If the carpet gathers too much dust and dirt, it can trigger allergies and be a cause of sickness. Homebuyers who have pets know that carpets and pets often don’t do well together.

With hardwood floors, they can be swept, dusted, or vacuumed with ease and washed easily. Newer hardwood is often wear-resistant and older wood floors can be made to look new again with refinishing.

If the home you are selling currently does not have hardwood floors and you want to upgrade before you sell, you might need to make the investment to get a good return on your house sale. Fortunately, there are cheaper options like engineered wood flooring and luxury vinyl flooring which are excellent alternatives in some situations. These alternatives can help you achieve the look and durability of real wood but at an affordable price.

Outdoor living spaces

Another feature that home buyers look for in a home is outdoor living spaces. Staying inside the house for too long can sometimes feel suffocating. Especially with the extended lockdowns in the 2020 and 2021 pandemic waves, some people learned of a strong preference for outdoor spaces. They can hang out while still being within the confines of their home. This outdoor space can be an additional living space without the cost of large-scale home addition.

Make sure to take care of your balcony, patio or backyard and have it look nice. If homebuyers see a well-kept and inviting outdoor space in your listing or during open-house tours, your property will definitely have an advantage over your competitors.

Energy efficiency

Many homebuyers are starting to realize the importance of an energy-efficient home. From benefits like savings in electricity and water bills, environmental friendliness, and using smart home technology, having an energy-efficient home can definitely make it stand out from the rest.

Smart technology is something many homeowners are looking for but others remain skeptical about. If you want to update your current home, you can do so by installing smart home devices such as smart light bulbs and appliances.

Improving insulation and looking at energy-efficient HVAC systems including furnaces and on-demand hot water systems. 

Laundry room

When people buy a house, they don’t only look at the living room and facade. Homebuyers these days are practical. When you think of day-to-day living, having a comfortable laundry room is one of the most helpful things in the house.

People don’t like turning other rooms into a laundry room, especially so they can keep the mess of dirty laundry just in one place. Having a separate, spacious room where they can wash, dry, iron, and fold clothes can increase the value of your home and make it more attractive to buyers. Having the laundry near the bedrooms is another human-energy saving feature buyers like.

Of course, as a home seller, you might not meet the expectations of home buyers and that’s okay. Make sure to highlight the good and unique features of your home and improve it in areas where it is possible. In the end, it all comes down to setting the right expectations with the buyer. You can also work with hiring the right real estate agent that can help you find the right buyer for your home.




Posted in Sellers
June 14, 2021

5 Low-Cost Ideas For A Kitchen Remodel On A Budget

5 KLow cost ideas for a Kitchen Remodel on a Budget

Remodelling a kitchen these days can be as expensive as buying a car.

However, there are ways to make your outdated kitchen look brand new without spending a fortune. Whether you want to renovate your whole kitchen or update a small part of it, these low-cost remodelling ideas will help you transform your kitchen into something you’ll love.

Repaint your cabinet doors instead of replacing them

Replacing old and outdated cabinets take up a huge chunk of a kitchen’s remodelling cost. If your cabinets are still in good shape, repaint them with fresh and trendy paint colours and they will instantly give off a different vibe. White paint does wonders to outdated cabinets and can hide their old designs.

If you have decided to replace your cabinets, consider refacing them instead of their structure is still sound. Replace only cabinet handles or cabinet doors. Worried about holes in the doors? Wood filler works wonders. Sprucing up your cabinets with trendy hardware designs will give your kitchen a new look while only spending a fraction of the price.

If you are adding a new section of cabinetry, styles today are forgiving as it is common to have different colours and finishes in different areas of the kitchen.

Refinish your flooring

Depending on the area you have in your kitchen, redoing the floors can cost up to $4,000 or more. If you have old wooden flooring in your kitchen, you can try to sand and stain them instead. Replace wooden floor tiles that are too old with new ones and stain them together and you won’t know the difference.

If you are replacing your kitchen floors completely, you can save thousands of dollars if you choose a durable and DIY-friendly material. Installation takes up the bulk of the cost even if you choose cheap flooring materials, and choosing cheap flooring materials that don’t last will also cost you more in the long run. Some relatively inexpensive yet durable materials for your kitchen floor are ceramic tile, vinyl, laminate, and cork. Many options are now rookie-friendly.

Update your backsplash and countertop

Materials that contribute to the overall look of your kitchen are your backsplash and countertop. The backsplash protects your kitchen wall from splashes and grease and will be your view while you are cooking and cleaning. So, you’ll also want to choose something that will be pleasing to the eye. Your kitchen countertop also provides an accent to the space.

While these can give a big impact on improving the overall look of your kitchen, it doesn’t need to be expensive. If your backsplash and countertops are still in a good condition, replacing them will just be an additional expense. Update its look by using paint instead. For your backsplash, you can be creative by using a stencil to create an eye-catching pattern. There are special paints available for countertops with stone-like finishes but I have painted countertops before using a strong primer and coating the top of the paint with a Varathane finish that lasted for years. There are also inexpensive stick-on tiles available at home renovation stores that are quick and inexpensive for small areas.

For your countertops, aside from paint, you can add decorative items like fresh flowers, a bowl of colourful fruit, or a platter of cupcakes. These touches will add colour and will make your space look refreshing.

Add under cabinet lights.

As a homeowner, you might have had a few issues with your current kitchen design. One of these is probably lighting. It might be about the poor lighting on your countertop that makes it hard for you to prepare sumptuous meals. Or the yellow hue that your lightbox gives off in your kitchen. 

Improving the lighting of your kitchen doesn’t have to be expensive. This isn’t about pendant lights or eye-catching chandeliers. Say goodbye to those mini lamps that you added to your countertop. Install under-cabinet lights instead. Under-cabinet lights are cheaper, can be installed under almost any cabinets, and won’t compromise the look of your kitchen. This extra lighting will also help you prepare your family’s meal more comfortably. 

Refurbish the appliances

When renovating a home, homeowners usually replace appliances as well. Since you want to improve your kitchen, of course, you would also want to have improved appliances. Moreover, some of your appliances might have already had a long and productive life and are already not in their best condition.

However, replacing them is not always the best option. It can be more economically and environmentally wise to refurbish your appliances. Check your local areas to see if there is a company that economically provides this service.

Unfortunately, I have found in the last few years that some appliances have a reputation of being short-lived and much more expensive to fix than to replace. It is also worthwhile looking for appliances online on neighbourhood sales pages such as Kijiji or Facebook Marketplace. Some high-end appliances end up there when new homeowners want to replace all of the appliances in their new home.

While upgrading your kitchen can be a lot of work, it will be worth it when you reach your kitchen goals. A kitchen is where we spend a lot of time cooking, eating, socializing, and making memories with our families. Invest in good quality kitchen design and it will benefit you and your family for a long time. For many people, the kitchen is the heart of the home.



Posted in Home Improvement
May 12, 2021

The Do’s and Don’ts of Buying a Home from a Friend

The Do's and Don'ts of Buying a Home from a Friend

Buying a home from a friend or a relative can be a great choice.

For one, you might already be familiar with the house. You can also score a better deal that can help save you money. Having a less complicated closing process is another great advantage.

However, there are also some disadvantages. Although you are friends with the seller, it is advised that you still go through inspections, get disclosure forms, and negotiate professionally. In some cases, business transactions between friends such as this can go sour and ruin your relationship.

Make sure to follow the right steps to avoid any conflict that can damage your relationship. Here are the do’s and don’ts of buying a home from a friend.

Do’s of Buying a Home from A Friend

Get pre-approved for a mortgage.

Once you initially discuss buying a home from your friend, make sure that you apply for a mortgage pre-approval from your bank or mortgage broker. Your friend might not require it, but it’s a kind and genuine gesture that shows that you are serious about buying their house. Having an approval letter assures your friend that you are qualified for a mortgage and that you can afford to buy the property.

It can be stressful for both of you to go through the next steps of the home buying journey and then find out later on that you are not qualified for a mortgage.

Conduct a home inspection.

You might be familiar with your friend’s property already or have spent a lot of time there, but it’s still important to hire a home inspector to conduct a home inspection to see any structural damages, foundational cracks, and other hidden faults that you won’t easily notice.

By having a professional home inspection done, you’ll be more aware of any repairs you need to make or if there are any red flags that you need to avoid. It could save you money when negotiating the contract price or even save you from buying something you might regret in the future.

If you are buying a property with a wood stove, a well, or a septic system you will want to have these inspections done as well. Finally, if the property is on a waterfront ensure you know the restrictions of any conservation area on the property.

Get everything in writing

Just because you are friends with the seller, doesn’t mean that everything can be talked about without writing legal contracts and agreements. Being too casual about business transactions such as this is where conflicts and disagreements can grow. Even if you trust each other, it’s important to have a tangible document that you can use as a basis for your transaction. Make sure that the seller provides home maintenance and repair records, disclosure forms, homeowners insurance records, the contract of the property sale, and of course, the title of the property.

Make sure your lawyer knows that you are buying from a friend and use the lawyer as your advocate.

Don’ts of Buying a Home from A Friend

Try to do the paperwork on your own.

When buying a home from your friend, you might be tempted to skip hiring a real estate agent and/or attorney to handle any paperwork or legal documents. This is one of the biggest purchases of your life avoid any mistakes that can cause legal and financial repercussions later on.

Ask for a discount that’s way below the market price.

Depending on how close you are with your friend, some might say that you shouldn’t ask for any discount at all unless it is voluntarily given as a sign of respect. It might be okay to negotiate with your friend, but don’t think that just because you are friends, you can expect to buy their property way below the market price. Do your research online to get an idea of what is fair or better yet, get 2 independent bank appraisers to value the home. This investment will be well worth your friendship. Whether your friend inherited the house or bought it with his or her own money, you should respect that it is your friend’s property and that you should buy it at a fair price.

Speaking of fair prices, on the other hand, you should also be careful about your friend selling it to you at a price that’s higher than its market price. Your friend could be the one taking advantage of you, and you should be cautious about this happening too. It’s best if you can have the property go through a home appraisal to determine its real value. 

Forget to ask about a seller’s disclosure form.

Don’t forget to ask your friend to give you a proper home disclosure form so you can have a record of anything concerning that’s happened in the property before. Lack of disclosures can lead to lawsuits. Did a fire occur before? Water damage or toxic materials in the house? Any past disputes over property lines or fencing? Are they aware of any crimes committed on the property? You are friends, but of course, transparency is always important in any transaction.

Don’t forget to keep these in mind when buying a house from a friend. It’s a great chance to buy a house from someone you trust. It will make the home buying process a lot easier, especially if it’s your first time buying a home. Just make sure to keep your discussions open to both parties’ ideas and to keep things transparent so that it can be a transaction that can benefit both of you.



Posted in Buyers
April 17, 2021

How To Sell Your Home When You Have Problem Neighbours

How to sell your home when you have problem neighbours

Having bad neighbours can contribute to the stress of selling your home.

You’ve got the perfect house for sale – good for a family, accessible to essential establishments, and can surely suit the lifestyle of your potential buyers. You are pretty sure that this kind of property will be easy to sell. But there is one problem that you weren’t able to consider – “bad” neighbours.

Bad neighbours can be those who do not respect privacy, noisy neighbours, rude neighbours, neighbours who don’t maintain their homes, those who are involved in illegal activities, and many more.

Like other real estate problems, there are many ways on how you can deal with these “bad” neighbours.

Consult your Real Estate Agent

Once you decide to sell your house, don’t hesitate to let your agent know about any problems with the property including any problematic neighbours. With their years of experience, your real estate agent can give you sound advice and help you deal with this problem more effectively.

Before trying to solve the problem on your own, seek advice from your agent first. Your actions on your own might backfire and might give you a harder time selling your house.

Try to Talk it Over

Try to meet and discuss your problems with your neighbour. This might not be possible for more serious or deeply rooted feuds, but it could work for those who have lighter problems such as noise and parking disputes.

Diplomatically approach your neighbours and try to smooth things over. You can even offer them a small treat or token as appreciation. Let them know that you genuinely want to fix any wounds and differences in your past and that you want to have a more positive relationship with them.

Be Honest with your Buyers

Be upfront and transparent with your buyers. This will help them gauge the problem and avoid any awkward situations with your neighbours when they visit the house for inspection.

Letting your buyers know about your situation will also help build trust in you as their seller. This will come in handy in negotiations and in closing the sale.

Set Boundaries

One of the causes of disputes among neighbours is the boundary. I’m talking about the land that is being occupied by your property. In some cases, the branches of a tree in a neighbour’s garden go beyond your fence. Hence, occupying space in your property. Other times, disputes are caused by the dividing fences.

To avoid possible problems, set boundaries. Coordinate with your neighbour regarding the building of your fence and ensure that it is within your legal boundary. Most people prefer to have something that separates their property from their neighbours. And of course, buyers want something that looks pleasing and is in good condition.

Check if it is Legal

If you’re being bothered by your neighbours’ activities, check if it’s legal. However, since getting involved with their business might also be an invasion of privacy, it is best to seek help from your real estate agent and consult with your local authority on how to deal with this kind of situation.

Keep Calm and Try to Remain Diplomatic

Remember that you need to keep things diplomatic no matter how you feel about your neighbours. Don’t get carried away by your emotions. Be objective in dealing with this problem. When the problem persists or worsens, don’t be afraid to ask for legal help.

Follow these steps to lessen your stress in selling your house and help future homeowners have a peaceful stay at their new home.



Posted in Sellers