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! 

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 in cash, you will definitely 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 own 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 definitely 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.


Posted in Buyers
Aug. 14, 2021

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

5 Low Cost Ideas for a Kitchen Remodell


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 if 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 definitely 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 in 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 is 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 provides this service in an economical way.


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 Kijji 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 definitely 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 heart of the home.





Posted in Home Improvement
Aug. 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 12, 2021

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

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 in buying their house. Having an approval letter gives your friend the assurance that you are qualified for a mortgage and that you can actually 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 from. 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

selling house with bad neighbours

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.

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


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 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.

Approach your neighbours in a diplomatic manner 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 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.


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.


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.


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
March 13, 2021

How To Decorate Your Home With A Grandmillennial Style


Grandmillennial Style

While most homeowners are going crazy about the minimalist home decor trend, there is another style that will definitely catch the attention of those who love traditional and neo-Victorian style – the grandmillennial style. Instead of plain walls and clear spaces, it is more of a maximalist style which combines classic and modern design. We’re talking about prints, patterns, and a lot of texture complemented with a modern aesthetic. This style is perfect for millennials who want to have the traditional look for their home but want to keep it on-trend.

Here are some tips on how to decorate your home with a grandmillennial style:

1.  Think “granny chic”.

Think about your grandmother’s home. What does it look like? Do you remember the cupboard that is full of figurine collections? I bet you have items that are similar to those that you put aside thinking that you won’t ever use it as they look outdated. Well, it’s time to bring them out! These decor pieces are a great way to provide a grandmillennial touch to your home.

Display your elephant figurines or china pattern vases. Group together items with similar textures and patterns. Who would’ve thought that those vintage hand-me-downs from your granny can bring a traditional yet chic aesthetic to your home?

2. Play with printed and patterned wallpapers.

Another vintage decor trend that’s coming back because of the grandmillenial style is printed and patterned wallpapers. This will bring out your creativity and add more personality to your home interior. You can choose among different prints and patterns such as floral, Moroccan, Scandinavian, Victorian, or whatever you prefer.

If adding wallpaper to all walls doesn’t suit your taste, you can take a more modern approach by incorporating patterns into your tilework or backsplash.

3. Use patterned upholstery.

To complete the grandmillennial look of your home, opt for a patterned upholstery. Choose patterns that are homey. You can use vibrant and bold pieces to provide an accent and achieve a modern grandmillennial look.

You might think that having a printed wallpaper and patterned upholstery in one room might look overwhelming. But don’t be afraid to mix and match patterns! Use patterns that will complement each other. If this is done right, it will definitely add a sophisticated elegance that’s appropriate in a home with a grandmillennial style.

4. Mix old and new furniture.

Since grandmillennial style is about traditional and modern elements coming together, the key to a good design is finding balance and choosing the right pieces. This becomes easily noticeable with your choice of furniture for your home.

Mix old and new furniture to achieve the balance that’s perfect for a grandmillenial home. You can explore combining rattan elements with light-colored reupholstered vintage pieces.

5. Add modern elements.

After you’ve become creative with the prints and patterns for your home, complete the grandmillennial look by adding modern fixtures. Include bronze or silver door handles, hinges, frames, and light fixtures. This will provide a modern and elegant touch to your vintage and chic home.

It’s all about balance

Since grandmillennial style uses a lot of patterns, elements, and decors, you are probably thinking that it can look cluttered. However, a homey grandmillennial look can be achieved by having the perfect balance. It is all about creating a home that’s both timeless and modern.

Grab your granny’s collections and start your home makeover! We’ll bring those floral wallpapers and patterned upholstery back in style! With a creative curation of the right pieces, your home will definitely be Instagram-worthy.



Posted in Home Style
Feb. 13, 2021

10 Steps To Getting Top Dollar For Your Home

Preparing your home to get top dollar

When you decide to sell your home, you should immediately begin referring to it as a house.  A little harsh, I know, but you’ve become emotionally attached to it and you have decided to sell it and it’s time to say goodbye. You can start detaching yourself by making some changes that will help you with the sale of the house.

You probably have accumulated a lot of clutter over the years. This must be the first step.

1.  Un-clutter your home – Start in the basement and either throw things out or rent a locker off premises to store it until you move but prospective buyers need to see what the house looks like behind all your stuff. This means going room to room and clearing everything out that makes it look junkie and disorganized. Even if you believe your treasures are beautiful, having too much of a good thing will deter a potential buyer.

2.  Neutralize the personal nature of your home – You may love the native tapestry on the living room wall from Bora Bora but I’ll guarantee 95% of your prospects will have it on their mind when they leave your home and not in a good way. Knick knacks and generally all things that you’ve previously enjoyed should be stored away until after the sale, that includes grandma’s spoon collection that takes up half a wall in the kitchen. Replace these things with neutral items like picture frames or vase with a simple arrangement. Ikea is a great places to get neutral and affordable artwork.

3.  Minor cosmetic work – Once you remove the clutter you will see all the things that you’ve been meaning to get to over the years. Painting where necessary, new flooring, moldings repaired, cracked plaster and re-taping/repairing drywall. When making these improvements think neutral colors for any coverings be it paint or carpets. If you have hardwood floors sand them and finish them. Area rugs can look amazing and might be a good temporary fix to high traffic and worn flooring. Whatever you do, don’t overdo it. Try and think like a buyer.

4. Hire a professional cleaner – Once you have the house cleared you should hire a professional cleaning crew to wash the walls, windows, work over the kitchen and bathrooms, clean the floors and shampoo all carpets that don’t need to be replaced. Your house should be spotless and kept this way for the duration.

5.  Staging each room – If your rooms are smaller rearrange the furniture to make the room look bigger. For example, removing some furniture is better than having too much cramped in. Set your furniture up in conversation pit style. Like a gourmet coffee house, make it cozy. Pull couches away from walls to give the appearance of depth. Remove wall clutter, keep one or two pictures but no more. Generally, make it look inviting.

6.  Kitchen and bathrooms – These are the most important rooms in your home to a buyer. Make sure they are impeccable. Plumbing fixtures should be working properly and look like new or they should be replaced. Use a good cleaner or even a metal polish to make them gleam. Showers and tubs need to be spotless! Sinks and vanities need to be pristine and uncluttered. Kitchen cupboards should be orderly, doors opening and closing properly, drawers the same. I can’t stress enough how important these two rooms are to your potential outcome. If you have a medicine cabinet, it is a good idea to move these items to a vanity or dresser drawer when people will be visiting your home. A small suitcase that can be placed in a closet might also be another good option.

7.  Doors and windows – First thing prospects see when they walk in your home is a door. Make sure it’s painted or cleaned up and that it will open and close properly. This goes for screen doors as well. Often screen doors are a problem people let go. Not anymore. Windows should all be cleaned and be sure if someone wants to open them that they work properly. If they have been painted closed as is the case with some older homes, now is the time to get them to open. If you can’t do it yourself, ask your real estate agent for a referral to a good handyperson.

8.  Garages and workshops – These are the second most important areas. Again, remove all clutter from the garage and make it accessible so you can actually park your car in it! As for the workshop, try and organize it so the handy person prospect will appreciate what they can do with their new shop when they move in. It’s all about your prospect picturing themselves in your house.

9.  Family effort – Everyone in your family needs to be on board with the presentation of the house. This means your kids need to buy into the project and keep their rooms tidy. Bribe them if you need to but everyone has to help maintain the appearance of the entire house.

10.  Odors and pets – Wow, is this ever important. If you have pets only you really love them. When you walk into a house with dogs or cats you immediately smell them, especially if you don’t have your own. Keep litter boxes fresh and clean daily. Restrict your animals if at all possible, to certain areas of the home until after the sale. Vinegar and water will do wonders when you clean their areas every other day until the sale is complete, and top it off with effective air fresheners wherever you need them. Vacuum often with carpet fresh powders two or 3 times a week.

This sounds like quite a bit of work and it is. Try and remember that by following these tips you could easily add five to ten thousand dollars to the sale price of your home, maybe more. A little elbow grease now will be a solid investment.

It is hard to de-personalize your home; it is easier to de-personalize a house. During the selling process you are not showing your home, you are showing a house that your potential buyer has to be able to envision as their own. A stager told me I needed to paint my walls as buyers would see it unique to me. I followed her advice and it worked but it really did help me feel it was a house and no longer my home.


Posted in Sellers
Jan. 9, 2021

How To Decorate Your Home Like a Minimalist

How to achieve a minimalist design

We all want to have a home that’s free of clutter and mess. However, it’s often unavoidable for our things to pile up throughout the years. Before we know it, our house is messy and unorganized. Shifting to minimalism in home decor is definitely a great idea to have a fresh start at home.


Decorating a house with a minimalist style might seem easy, but it’s actually quite difficult to put together a simple yet stylish home and to let go of some of our possessions. Here are some tips to have a home with a minimalist style:


1. Declutter

The first step to a minimalist home is decluttering. Recycle, donate, or throw out old and broken things that keep your home looking unorganized and messy. Learn to let go of things that you don’t need anymore.


A friend once told me she pretends every spring that she is going to sell the house in 6 weeks. She goes through the house and clears everything that she wouldn’t want to have to move. Of course, we all have things that we absolutely can’t let go, but make sure to keep those things hidden away. If you can’t let go of some of your things, it’s okay to just have the illusion that you have a minimalist home.


2. Quality over quantity

When it comes to choosing furniture and decor, make sure to choose quality over quantity. Choose only a few pieces but make sure that those pieces can play a major role in the design and overall feel of each room. It’s better to only have a few quality and timeless things and to make every piece count. Invest in things that are of quality.


3. Stick to neutrals

Stick to neutral colors that complement each other to have a calmer and more relaxing vibe that’s pleasing to the eye. You can choose one or two colors to highlight and add contrast to the room, but don’t add too many colors as your house may appear too busy. Add different hues instead to have a softer yet centralized design.


4. Focus on textures

Instead of using many different colors to decorate a room, layer in different textures instead. Contrasting textures add character to a room and will make your space look more stylish and interesting.

For example, you can put together touches of wood, concrete, weaved decor, etc. Experiment on different finishes to see what works. Just make sure not to go overboard and to have an element that ties each item together – for example, the color palette.


5. Add a touch of greenery

Adding plants and greenery to a room can make a room feel more alive. If a room looks too empty, placing plants at empty spots around the house can instantly add lush hues and unique textures. Plants also improve the oxygen circulation in a room and gives anyone who sees it a breath of fresh air.


6. Improve your lighting

Light adds so much positivity and peace to a home. Use windows to your advantage to let natural light in to highlight your centerpieces and home decor. Natural light gives your home a softer glow and adds a calm and relaxing effect. You can also improve your lighting to make your minimalist home decor shine even at night.


6. Choose furniture with clean lines

Upholstered and hard pieces of furniture can be ornate. To achieve the minimalist style you should avoid a lot of filigree and moldings. This doesn’t mean you can’t have shaping and that everything has to have straight lines – just temper your enthusiasm.


Start decorating your home like a minimalist today and make your home look stylish and clutter-free. Make sure to keep it simple but to add your own touch and personality as well. Keep it functional and stylish and you’ll surely love your home transformation!




Posted in Home Style
Dec. 12, 2020

7 Clever Ways to Increase The Value of Your Basement



You might not have thought about it before, but renovating your basement can significantly increase the value of your property. By renovating your basement and transforming it into something functional, you are creating an additional living space that people can make use of.


If you’re thinking that fixing up your basement will only waste your time and money, think again. Studies show that basement renovations regain about 70% of their costs at the time of resale.


Here are some awesome transformations that you can do to increase the value of your basement:



Your basement is a perfect space where the grown-ups can hang out. You can easily set it up by including a bar counter, stools, and your favorite booze. You can also add a cozy sofa to make the guests feel comfortable. And a big TV screen so you can watch your favorite movie while drinking. Whatever you feel like including. You have the freedom to customize the space depending on what you love to do with your friends.


Game room

Another way to upgrade your basement is by turning it into a game room. What’s more exciting than a home arcade? Set it up with your favorite arcade games, or maybe a PlayStation. How about some board games for bonding with the whole family? No need to go out of the house for some recreation. Perfect during this time when we are advised to stay at home.



Take this extra room as an opportunity to build your own personal gym! Your main expenses will only be the gym equipment. You can actually save more money in the long run as you wouldn’t need to pay for your gym membership. Plus, it’s a safer option during this time. But since this is the basement and there is limited air flow inside, you might need to do some renovations to improve the ventilation.


Home Theatre

If you think about it, the basement is the perfect place to have a home theater. It’s cool, it’s dark, and you have enough space to mount a television or projector, and some comfortable reclining chairs. Home Theatres are on trend and a great way to bring family together! 


Additional Bedroom

By renovating your basement, you can even create additional bedrooms. You can easily transform your basement into a bedroom by adding a bed and a closet. Trust me, you’re going to have a blast decorating and filling up your basement with furniture!


The only problem you might encounter in creating a bedroom is adding a form of egress or a way to exit the property in case of emergencies. Depending on how your basement is structured, it might take some effort to create a window that is big enough to escape to in case of emergencies.


Office Space

With work-from-home and home schooling becoming common this year, every nook and cranny in homes have been turned into office spaces. In the photo accompanying this blog post you will see how the home owners built-in a desk under the basement stairs and added bright lighting to make sure it was a useable, comfortable spot to concentrate in.


Which transformation did you like?

With all these ideas, I hope you find more value in your basement. The most neglected area in your home can actually be transformed into something beneficial and might actually improve your home. Renovating your basement might cost you some money but think of it as an investment. When you create an additional living space in your home, your house will increase its value upon resale.


Don’t limit yourself with this list. Be creative and think of ways on how you can maximize the area in your basement.


Posted in Home Improvement
Nov. 7, 2020

7 Low-Stress Last Minute Gifts For The Home

Low Stress Christmas GIfts


We all anticipate the holidays every year but somehow, we often are challenged to buy gifts! With all the decorating, baking, and other work that has piled up, remembering to get the most appropriate gifts at the last minute can be stressful.


Giving a gift certificate or cash is an acceptable idea, but we’ve thought about even better last-minute gift ideas! These gifts for the home are so awesome that they will never even know that you shopped for them at the last minute. Whether it be your spouse, parents, children, or co-workers, they’re going to love these low-stress, last-minute gifts!


1. A Cozy Throw

Make your loved one feel more at home by giving them a cozy throw pillow. Who wouldn’t want an additional throw pillow in their living room? While some people love having multiple pillows as they find comfort from them, I personally have a pile of comfy cozy throws and no pillows. Why you might ask? Three Italian Greyhounds! They love being warm and they love destroying pillows. And what makes it more meaningful is if it is given by someone close to me. It’s like having them beside me even though they are away.


2. A Fancy Bartender Set

Level up celebrations at home with a fancy bartender set. Why don’t you start this holiday? Make Christmas fancier with this gift. Mix your favourite cocktails using this kit which is also a great accent to your elegant home. Even though you are just at home, it will feel like you are in a high-end bar but minus the expensive drinks. This is especially true during the pandemic when so many celebrations must be held at home.


3. Bathtub Caddy

Upgrade your loved one’s bathroom experience with a stylish and functional bathtub tray. 


Nothing beats a relaxing bubble bath after a long and tiring day. Now, imagine having a phone holder, book holder, or a cup and candleholder while relaxing! You can put everything that you need on the caddy so you won’t have to ruin the mood to stand up. Add a bath bomb or some lavender bath salts so your loved one can truly feel that you care about their wellness.


4. Amazon Prime Membership

Do you have that friend who loves to shop and watch movies? Well, no need to think about what to give them further. Casually check that they don’t already have an Amazon Prime subscription, and if they don’t, this membership has everything would wish for.


Amazon Prime offers exclusive shopping deals and discounts, and free delivery! Membership also includes access to tons of award-winning movies and TV shows, over two million songs, and free books!


5. A flower subscription service for freshly delivered blooms

Fresh flowers never fail to make someone’s day. There is just something about the beauty of fresh flowers that makes someone feel good. Remind the important people in your life that you care about them by sending a nice bouquet of flowers throughout the year! It also serves as a reminder that they are loved and that someone thinks about them, not just during the holidays.


6. Acupressure Mat and Pillow Set

A bed of needles might sound unappealing, but you might have a loved one that can use its benefits. If you know someone who experiences a lot of back or body pain, stress, or headaches, this is the gift for them. Acupressure beds or mattress covers help relieve stress, stimulate endorphins, reduce pain, and increase energy. Trust me, they’ll thank you once they experience this acupressure relief.


7.  Donation in Someone’s Name

If you’ve read all of these and think that the person already has everything they need, well, why not make a donation in that person’s name instead? Think about any causes or charities that your friend or loved one has always held close to their heart. Do they love dogs? Wildlife? Maybe they care about the environment? A medical cause? Or do they regularly volunteer for a local charity in your area?


Think about what they care about the most and donate in their name.


Did you pick up a few ideas to give your friends and loved ones? Choosing something practical and personalized is always a great idea. Remember that a gift will always be appreciated as long as it comes from the heart.


P.S. We very rarely take the time to write a personalized greeting in a card or a letter. Taking time to think of the person and write a thoughtful message might be the most appreciated gift of them all.


Posted in Holidays and Home