• What is a Buyer Representation Agreement?

    Whether you’re looking at a condo in the city or a detached home in the suburbs, the search for your dream home is an exciting time! For many prospective buyers, the period between the decision to buy and the day you get the keys to your new home takes a back seat to your dreams of the exciting times ahead. As a buyer, you need to be informed and educated through every step of the process. It can be challenging to set aside your search for the perfect window treatments when your agent is asking you to sign a document you don’t understand: the Buyer Representation Agreement (BRA). To help you tackle this, we are going to give you the short and sweet explanation of what a Buyer Representation Agreement is, so you can get back to the decisions you’re excited about making!

    What is a Buyer Representation Agreement?

    This document is a written contract that defines the relationship between you and the brokerage, and how the agent will represent your best interests. It outlines the services your real estate agent provides and what they expect from you, including:

    • The agent’s duties and obligations to the buyer
    • Agency relationships
    • The scope of the agent’s duties
    • Buyer obligations

    Homebuyers will sign a BRA when they’re working with a real estate agent and are ready to make an offer on a home.

    What are the benefits and drawbacks of a BRA?

    By signing a BRA, you enter into an agreement in which your real estate agent will represent you in the home buying process. Advantages include:

    • Representation – A BRA ensures that your real estate agent works in your best interests and abides by the services listed in your contract. They can handle much of the home-buying process on your behalf, including negotiating, inspecting, and paperwork.
    • Clarification – A BRA formalizes your professional relationship by clearly laying out what your real estate agent expects from you and what you can expect from them.
    • Negotiable – Most of the terms in a BRA can be negotiated with your real estate agent.

    Disadvantages of a BRA include:

    • Locked term – By designating a real estate agent as your representative, your real estate agent will always receive a commission if you purchase property during the contract term.
    • Exclusivity – With an exclusive BRA, you will not be able to use another real estate agent. If you are unhappy with your current agent, there are steps you can take to break your agreement and engage another agent.

    How is a BRA presented?

    While the agreement can be written, oral, or implied, it will ultimately be required by law to be reduced to writing with your signature in order to protect everyone involved.

    When should you sign a BRA?

    Like anything else you place your signature on, it’s important to fully discuss and understand the services provided, the cost related to the services, and that the written agreement is clear. Typically, a BRA is signed before you begin working with the real estate agent.

    What will happen if you don’t sign?

    According to the Code of Ethics, the broker and salesperson must protect and promote your best interest as their client on top of being fair, and honest. While you can choose to be a customer rather than a client, be aware that there could be some differences in how you are represented.

    What is multiple representation?

    Multiple representation means that a brokerage represents both the buyer and the seller of a property. There are no standard terms of service for multiple representation, so you need to consult the representation agreement before any offer is submitted. Multiple representation must be consented to in writing, so make sure you ask questions and are comfortable with how it may affect the services provided to you.

    What is a holdover clause?

    A holdover clause is an optional clause in your BRA. It means that once your BRA expires if you purchase a home after a certain number of days (usually 30 to 90 days) that came to your attention during the BRA, you must still go through the agent to purchase the home, and they will still receive a commission on the home purchase or lease.

    Learn more about the many other important home buying steps so you can spend time where it really matters! Are you ready to take the next step? Contact us!


    Courtesy of REMAX.ca

    How to Save for a Down Payment While Renting

    Renters across Canada have been struggling with rising rent costs and wondering how they will be able to save for a down payment while renting. With some money management tricks and adjustments to your daily living, you can save for a down payment. It might go slowly, but every little bit helps. Here are some tips to save for a down payment while renting.

    1. Make a Budget and Stick to It

    Making a budget is the easiest way to make your financial goals happen. When you have a plan for where your money is going, it puts the power back in your hands and gives you an idea of how long it will take to save for a down payment.

    To make a budget, write down your monthly income. Then, list your monthly expenses, including your savings goal. Your expenses should always be less than your income; otherwise, you are going into debt. Track your spending to ensure your budget is accurate. But the trick is that if you want to save enough for your down payment, you must ensure you stay within budget as much as possible.

    2. Get Rid of Your Existing Debt

    Qualifying for a mortgage does not end with saving enough for a down payment. Mortgage lenders will also look at your debt-to-income ratio (DTI), the percentage of gross income used to pay minimum monthly debt payments. If you have a high DTI, you are a risk to the lender, who will be less likely to approve you for a mortgage. However, if you work to cut down your existing debt while saving for your down payment, you can get approved for the house you want.

    3. Cut Unnecessary Spending

    Another way to boost your down payment savings is to cut back on a few luxuries. For example, consider buying groceries and making meals instead of ordering in, working out at home for free instead of paying for a gym membership, or taking public transit. Then, take the money you would have used on those splurges and put it into your savings account for the down payment.

    Some people might be willing to sacrifice just about everything to have their house sooner, but most of us would rather not sacrifice our quality of life. Make a line in your budget for fun things like a night out with friends, and ensure you don’t go over budget. Saving for a down payment is not worth sacrificing your mental health.

    4. Lower or Eliminate Rent Costs

    Your most considerable monthly expense is likely your rent, so an effective way to save for a down payment is to cut your rent costs. Although moving is not fun, it can save you thousands of dollars annually. Renters who work from home can choose a location with a lower cost of living, while those who work in an office can find a cheaper apartment closer to their work, saving them expenses for both housing and transportation. Then, take the difference in your expenses and put it in your savings account for your down payment.

    5. Add Extra Income

    While cutting expenses is an effective way to create room in your budget to save for a down payment, another way to save is to take on a side hustle. There are many opportunities for part-time work, such as driving for Uber or Skip the Dishes or becoming a tutor. You could also start your own home business cleaning houses, pet sitting and dog walking, or doing yard work. It doesn’t have to be fancy if it earns you extra money for your down payment.

    6. Immediately Save Any Bonuses or Gifts

    If you receive regular bonuses at work or a tax return each year, these can easily be contributed toward your down payment savings without sacrificing your quality of life. To take it up another notch, ask for down payment contributions in place of gifts for your birthday or Christmas. If you feel you are missing out on fun for yourself, set aside a predetermined percentage or amount to use as you want, and put the rest in savings.

    With these tricks, you can save up for a down payment while renting. Set up a savings account dedicated solely to your down payment and watch as your efforts pay off – literally!


    Courtesy of REMAX.ca

    Address Change Checklist

    There is nothing like receiving a handwritten note from a loved one, delivered the old-fashioned way directly to your mailbox. Sure, bills, letters, cards, and more can easily and more efficiently be accessed online, but where is the fun in that?

    You have nearly reached the end of your home-buying journey, and although the road has been long and winding, you have reached the final stage! Your fingers are itching to dive into unpacking and settling into your new home, but first, you need to let your family, friends, companies, and government agencies know where they can reach you.

    For family and friends, you can easily send a change of address card via mail or email, but there are a few more steps when it comes to informing government agencies. Nowadays, most services enable you to easily change your address online, which can be completed in a matter of hours. However, a few, like your registry, will require you to visit in person to complete the paperwork. Here are the main services for which you need to change your address:

    Canada Revenue Agency – It is very easy to update your address online. Click here to change your address with the CRA and ensure your tax information is accurate.

    Canada Post – Use Mail Forwarding to forward any personal or business mail from your old address to your new one so that you don’t miss any important information. This should be completed a few weeks before your moving date to ensure nothing gets missed.

    Local Registry – Known as Service Ontario in Ontario and by other names in other provinces, this is where you can update your driver’s license and health care cards. If you are moving to a new province, you will also need to get a new license plate.

    Bank and credit card company – Any information that proceeds through your bank, such as accounts, loans, or lines of credit, will need to be updated with your new address. If you have bought a new home, then your mortgage will already have the address.

    Insurance broker – All home or rental insurance will need to be updated to reflect your new address. You will also need to update your auto insurance so that your new address is printed on your card. You should know that insurance rates often change based on address.

    Employer – If applicable, it is important to change your address for the purpose of tax information and your Employment Insurance.

    Medical Personnel – Your doctor, dentist, and any other medical practitioners that you see will need to be updated with your new address. This also includes the veterinarian.

    Memberships and subscriptions – If you are a member of a place such as a gym, it will be necessary to change your address information.

    Utilities – Assuming that you have not done so already, all utilities, including internet and TV, will need to be switched over to your new address.

    Education institutions – If you have children that will be attending the same school as before the move, you will need to notify their school that you have moved and provide your new address.

    This may seem like a daunting task, but fortunately, once everyone has been informed, you can go back to unpacking and organizing and can rest easy knowing that your friends and family will be able to easily find you to wish you well in your new home.


    Courtesy of REMAX.ca

    Tips to Enhance Your Curb Appeal This Winter

    The grey and lifeless winter landscape can leave your home’s curb appeal… lacking. If you’re selling your home and are hoping to channel your inner Norman Rockwell in a cozy, welcoming scene, take it from the experts: it is a lot simpler than you think! Homeowners who want to give their front yard a facelift or prepare their homes to sell during the winter season should be aware that it does not require too much of an investment. From a fresh coat of paint to a modest bird feeder, it is the little things that count and can add the most charm to your home’s exterior. We have compiled a list of tips from real estate experts on how you can enhance your curb appeal this winter.

    6 Tips to Enhance Your Curb Appeal This Winter

    Give Your Numbers an Update

    How old are the numbers on your house? Better yet, can delivery drivers even see them as they try to drop off your pizza (or the signature brown boxes holding the evidence of your 2020 online shopping addiction)? Whatever state the numbers on your front porch may be, consider investing in some new numbers for an easy, affordable, and striking outdoor refresh.

    Investing in a new mailbox can also instantly upgrade your exterior aesthetic. So, scrap that rusty eyesore and trade it for a sleek, metal letter box that can usually be affixed to the wall with a couple of screws.

    These simple updates can do wonders for your curb appeal during the winter months.

    Apply a Fresh Coat of Paint to Your Door

    Oftentimes, the best way to spruce up any part of your humble abode is with a fresh coat of paint.

    Your door is usually the first thing that appeals to somebody’s eye. Many homeowners might choose to fully replace their old door with a new one that has a lovely glass insert. But if you are on a tight budget, all you need is some paint and colour that suits your home.

    As an added tip, bold primary colours can look extremely striking set upon a white winter backdrop. But take note, you may want to proactively paint before the cold winter weather hits or during a window of unseasonably warm temperatures, as most paints need at least three days of 12-degree weather to properly cure.

    Install a Bird Feeder

    What better way to liven up your front yard than by hanging a well-placed and colourful bird feeder to attract some feathered friends? Winter provides us with plenty of gray days, so placing a bird feeder can show some colourful signs of life like blue jays and cardinals.

    Add Functional Lighting

    Exterior lighting offers a myriad of benefits. The first thing homeowners will point out is the safety aspect of light installations, providing added visibility during the shorter and darker days of winter. Opt for downward soffit lighting to create a warm glow that makes your property look inviting and cozy.

    Clear the Snow and Clutter

    The snow certainly looks nice after a fresh snowfall, but the longer winter continues without proper up-keep, the more unkempt your home will appear. While it is perfectly alright to let the snow accumulate on your lawn, aim to shovel the front walkway and the driveway to keep paths clear and safe. Remember, if you are hosting an open house, you want your home to be accessible and safe for prospective buyers.

    Plant Some Seasonal Greens

    Like a colourful bird feeder, cold-weather plants can liven up your front entrance. Unsure what to plant? Here are a few recommendations from our wintery green thumbs:

    • Evergreen trees and shrubs for all year long.
    • Winter berries, which will attract hungry birds.
    • Winter-flowering shrubs, such as jasmine and daphne.
    • Early spring bulbs that will flower in late winter or early spring.

    Winter Brings New Decorative Opportunities?

    Many homeowners typically think about what they can do to add seasonal holiday touches to the interior of their home but tend to neglect outdoor winter décor, which can create a bold, inviting statement to elevate your curb appeal. Whether a wreath or planter made of cold-hardy perennials or a faux fur blanket draped over your porch-side Muskoka chair, there are so many ways to bring the beauty of the season to your home’s exterior!


    Courtesy of REMAX.ca

    How to Prepare Your House Before You Go on Vacation

    Most people have watched the movie Home Alone or at least know the storyline. To summarize, a family goes away for Christmas vacation, and two robbers scope out the house and decide to break in and steal everything. However, the family forgets their youngest son, who spends his days pranking the robbers and keeping them at bay. While this makes for an amusing movie plot, being in this situation in reality is not what anyone wants – especially when they are out of the country. Now, if you’re wondering how to prepare your house before you go on vacation this winter, read on!

    While the likelihood of you forgetting one of your children at home when you leave for a winter vacation is next to none, the chances of someone breaking into your home while you’re away is not out of the realm of possibility. We’ve compiled a list of ways to keep your house safe while you travel to warmer temperatures during the winter months.

    How to Prepare Your House Before You Go on Vacation

    Snowbirds will be quick to tell you that going away for a weekend or even a week is nothing compared to leaving for months at a time. Preparing your home for an extended absence is vital to ensure that everything remains status quo while you are gone. We will detail some key things below, including turning off water valves, adjusting your thermostat, and having someone check on your home regularly.

    Turning off the Water

    Turning off water valves while you leave for the winter is one of the most important things and should be kept at the top of your list of things to do before you go. Water is one of the biggest threats to your home, and even just a tiny leak can cause thousands of dollars in damage. In the winter months, the risk of your pipes freezing is real, and when pipes freeze, they eventually burst, and this isn’t something you’ll want to come back to after your vacation. Before leaving, we suggest turning off any water valves you can, including outdoor taps and laundry. Some people even turn off the entire water supply to the house before slipping away for the winter. Others prefer to keep some water flowing and have the person checking in on their home flush the toilets and drains occasionally to prevent odours from coming up the drain.

    Turn Down the Heat

    There’s no point in keeping an empty home warm and toasty, but you still need to keep the heat on while you’re away. This will prevent your indoor pipes from freezing and condensation from building up inside your electronics. Turn the heat down, but not off.

    Pause Unnecessary Utilities

    Some of your utilities like cable and internet can be paused while you’re away for a small, one-time fee. If you’re planning to go away for just a couple of weeks, this may not make sense, but pausing these utilities can save you hundreds of dollars if you’ll be away for a few months. That saved money is sure to come in handy while on vacation!

    Find a Trustworthy Neighbour to Keep Watch

    Having eyes and ears on your home while you’re away can make you feel much more comfortable leaving your home empty for weeks or months. This is where having great neighbours pays off. Ask or hire someone to bring in the mail, turn on lights occasionally and shovel the snow to make your home look lived-in and less inviting to thieves. Have them look around for anything out of the ordinary and immediately bring it to your attention.

    You should also be aware that your home insurance terms may require you to have someone check on your home regularly if you are away for more than a few days. For example, some insurance companies will not cover pipes that burst during your absence, unless a competent person checks on the interior of your home every few days.

    Leverage Technology While You’re Away

    Thankfully we have the technology to give you some peace of mind while away. Installing security lights and cameras outside the entrances to your home is a great way to ensure that your house is kept safe. Most security cameras can be viewed using a smartphone, and these apps can also control lights giving you the ability to turn lights on and off while you’re away, further giving off the illusion that someone is home. An alarm system is also a great idea to keep your home safe from intruders.

    Many Canadians head south for the winter months. Now that working remotely is so popular, it is expected that the number of “snowbirds” may increase, and the term will no longer be reserved for those who have retired. If you’re planning to escape the harsh Canadian winters in favour of a warmer climate, follow these tips on how to prepare your house before you go on vacation, so you can relax and enjoy yourself worry-free.


    Courtesy of REMAX.ca

    The Top Benefits of Buying and Selling Your Home in the Winter

    Opinions are split as to whether buying and selling a home in the winter is the best time or not. In the post-coronavirus world, plenty of conventions and traditions have been turned upside down. Deciding if you should erect a for sale sign in your snow-filled yard or venture out in cold conditions to find your dream home? There are some factors to consider, working in favour of taking the leap into home ownership during the winter.

    We have compiled a list of the top benefits of buying and selling your home in the winter:


    #1 Fewer Bidding Wars in the Winter

    Historically, there is less competition among homebuyers during the winter months. Unless the sun is shining and the temperatures are above normal, not everyone is willing to endure the wrath of Old Man Winter. Moreover, winter is not always the most convenient time to acquire a new property. The buzzing holiday season often has homebuyers distracted, and families may be apprehensive about moving to a new neighbourhood in the middle of the school year.

    #2 Faster Mortgage Closings

    It may seem counterintuitive, but the winter months might offer quicker service during months. Because sales activity is typically a bit slower between November and February, service professionals within the industry may be faster since they aren’t as busy.

    Mortgage closings, home inspections, contracting services, and legal documentation – everything that is involved with buying a home can be quicker than if it were done in the middle of the spring or summer.

    #3 Is Everything Cheaper?

    Statistically, since the winter months tend to see lower volumes of activity within the real estate market, sellers are more likely to list their home at a fair price, or priced to sell! Without overinflated prices, and the decreased likelihood of a bidding war, you’re more apt to score a good deal on your purchased property in the winter home-buying season.

    Further, since real estate is an essential industry, many industries that support buying and selling a home are readily available. The market slowdown in the winter may make some services less expensive since there isn’t as much activity. Whether it’s moving companies or contractors, some are willing to negotiate in order to drum up business during the winter season.

    #4 Seasonal Bonuses

    ‘Tis the season for bonuses from your workplace. It might be a bit different in 2020, but many companies hand out respectable bonuses to their staff to show their appreciation for a job well done. This cash injection is great for homebuyers who may allocate it directly toward their down payment if they are browsing for a home in the winter.


    #1 Winter Spawns Serious Buyers

    If somebody is willing to travel through a Canadian winter to visit an open house, it is more than likely you have a serious buyer on your hands. It is easy to attract a few dozen people to your property on a gorgeous spring day, but are they genuine about their interest?

    Winter separates window shoppers from dedicated customers.

    #2 Less Competition!

    The reduced competition during the winter season is a plus for buyers and sellers alike. With fewer properties available on the market, you’re more likely to sell your home quickly (as long as demand is there!) with favourable terms.

    #3 Highlight Your Home’s Energy Efficiency

    How efficient is your home? If you are like most modern households, you have invested in your home’s energy efficiency to cut down on your utility bills. What better time to show off this incredible investment than during the winter, when your hydro bill is typically higher. This could not only add thousands to your home’s value, but it could be a selling feature for homebuyers.

    Got a hot tub or a fireplace? These will be extra favourable features for winter buyers who will naturally be looking for homes that offer cozy warmth.

    Winter is in the Air

    Any time the birds start chirping, the days become longer, and the temperatures begin warming up, for-sale signs pop up on yards everywhere.

    While this is part of the reason that more homeowners sell their properties between March and September, plenty of real estate agents and industry experts regularly champion the winter as a great time to be both a buyer and seller.


    Courtesy of REMAX.ca

    Upgrading Your Home Office

    Proper organization and storage are key to a productive home office. Upgrading your home office can be a visual cue, inspiring you to increase your productivity and improve your general workflow.

    Innovative renovations that boost your home office aesthetic and practicality, while bringing you closer to your work, can help you reach new heights. If you have a hybrid work schedule or are working from home, you can easily incorporate these six ideas into your existing decor.

    6 Ways to Upgrade Your Home Office

    Upgrade Your Lighting with Different Bulbs

    Workplace lighting could be subpar if the space were designed to be something other than an office from the start. A well-lit home office has both natural and artificial lighting options, such as task lighting for illuminating specific work surfaces and ambient lighting for the entire room.

    Consider a desk lamp that can be adjusted in height and produce different colour temperatures for your workplace. Researchers have found that exposure to warmer (more yellow) light encourages inventiveness, while exposure to more relaxed (bluer) light improves focus. Studies have found that one’s environment can affect their productivity.

    Upgrade Your Workstation

    Organize your desk so that everything you need is within easy reach. You need a large enough desk to keep everything handy and drawers or shelves to stow items you don’t use daily. You should be able to access your computer’s essentials, such as the printer, mouse, speakers, and any supplementary materials you might need, without having to move around too much. Less-used items should be stored further away so that you only have to shift position or get up when needed. It’s also helpful to have a sliding base for the mouse and keyboard and a raised platform for the screen.

    Utilize Large External Monitors to Prevent Screen Clutter

    For most people, the screen of their laptop or desktop computer isn’t enough. According to one study, a second monitor has increased productivity by as much as 30 percent. Choose a second monitor with a legible display to avoid headaches and eye strain. An additional rule of thumb is that the larger the monitor, the better it will serve you because it will reduce the need to scroll.

    Find An Ergonomic, Comfortable Chair

    If you’re sitting correctly, you won’t just be less likely to develop health problems; you’ll be able to avoid the temptation to constantly shift positions or get up to stretch for more extended periods. When selecting an office chair, it’s essential to look for one that supports your lower back by conforming to the shape of your spine, has a wide range of height adjustments, and can be swivelled to accommodate easy access. Ensure that your knees and elbows are at a 90-degree angle, that the armrests adequately support your forearms, and that the chair is soft enough to ensure proper posture.

    Utilize Wall Space for Planning Purposes

    Although we do a lot of documenting, planning and getting ideas on our computers, there are other places where we do so. The need for physical intervention is often inevitable. Consider a whiteboard or low-cost magnetic bulletin board that can be hung and used for keeping current to-do lists, project information, and motivational images close at hand.

    Plants As a Stress Reliever

    Even if you only have room for one tiny plant on your desk, it will go a long way toward reducing stress levels and motivating you to keep things neat. In case that isn’t enough to convince you, research has shown that having plants around at work can boost efficiency. Plants are a great way to bring natural texture and colour into your home office. Fake plants today are so lifelike and require no watering or sunlight.

    Making Productivity-Improving Upgrades to Your Home Office

    Before COVID-19, many people who worked from home used the dining room table or some other makeshift surface as their desk. The shift to remote work caused by the pandemic has highlighted just how important it is to have a dedicated home office.

    Now that many employers are accommodating work from home, it makes financial sense to upgrade your workspace so you can work comfortably, concentrate, and get things done. A dinner-table workspace is no longer enough as a long-term solution. In any case, it’s wise to improve your home office’s infrastructure. Improve your efficiency, orderliness, and everything in between with the new office furnishings that come out every year.

    Courtesy of REMAX.ca

    Explore the Neighbourhood Before You Buy

    The quality of the surrounding community is a significant factor in determining whether you will be happy in your new home. While choosing a neighbourhood and forming an accurate impression of it is tough until you actually live there, preliminary research on the area can reduce the likelihood of suffering from buyer’s remorse down the road. So, how can you ensure that you’re well-informed? Here are five strategies for investigating a neighbourhood before you buy.

    Choosing a Neighbourhood: Journey of Discovery

    To determine whether the area is ideal for you, it is best to pay multiple visits. Listen for things like planes, trains and automobiles as you wander the neighbourhood. Living near places that frequently generate loud noises is probably not a good idea if you have a low tolerance for such sounds.

    You should consider the condition of nearby houses as well. A neighbourhood may not be in good shape if many homes are on the market and the fences, yards, and windows all look neglected. Conducting a daytime and nighttime exploration, as well as weekday and weekend visits, are all recommended.

    Reach Out to The Neighbours

    Talking to locals can be an excellent strategy for gaining insight into a community. Keep your eyes peeled for possible encounters with your future neighbours so you can introduce yourself. Inquire whether they recommend the area to you and your loved ones. A good way to find out if you’d like to move there is to talk to people who already live there.

    Check The Prevalence of Crime in a Given Area

    There are several factors to consider before purchasing a home, but one of the most important is the local crime rate. Although there is usually some level of criminal activity in every area, some places are considerably safer than others. If the neighbourhood you’re looking at has a low crime rate, you’re likely to feel safer.

    It can also be a good idea to check crime maps of the area you’re looking at by doing a quick search on Google. In addition, you can get in touch with the local police for further assistance in finding this information, such as the Toronto neighbourhood crime maps, which show the number of crimes per 10,000 residents.

    Examine Recent Changes in Property Values

    Considering property value trends is not crucial if you are a renter, but it is essential if you are considering purchasing a home. Before you buy there, you need to know if home prices in the area are rising, stagnant, or falling. Knowing these tendencies is helpful. Also, you can extrapolate information about a neighbourhood’s public amenities funding from the property tax rates there.

    It’s important to remember that property values aren’t indicative of a neighbourhood’s desirability and that affordable housing doesn’t mean a place is terrible to live in. However, they are essential to investigate when learning about a community, especially if you plan to make a long-term investment there.

    Try Out Your Commute

    The commute you endure every day can significantly affect your happiness. While a quick Google Maps search can give you a general idea of your commute and how long it might take, nothing beats experiencing it for yourself, whether you’re travelling by car, foot, bike or public transportation. In addition, the best time to test your commute is when you would typically be on your way to or from work.

    Buying the Perfect Home in An Ideal Neighbourhood

    It’s just as critical to locate a desirable community as it is to find the ideal dwelling. You can improve a house, but a neighbourhood’s characteristics are much more challenging to alter. Don’t rush into buying a home; instead, take your time to learn about the community and get a feel for the area.

    Your RE/MAX real estate agent is another great way to learn the ins and outs of a neighbourhood you are considering moving to. Our expertise and experience in local communities mean we can share insights that you may not be able to find on your own. Reach out to us today, and get a head start on choosing the right home for your family in the right neighbourhood!

    Courtesy of REMAX.ca

    Staging Your Home During The Holidays

    One of the biggest questions that tends to arise in the months leading up to the holidays, is whether or not people should decorate their homes for the holidays while trying to sell. This is an interesting topic, as some people prefer to see what homes look like when decorated, while other people prefer to see the space without the distraction of decorations.

    We reached out to our RE/MAX Influencers – a panel of RE/MAX Sales Associates from across Canada – who provided some insight and tips into how you should go about staging your home during the holiday season.

    Try to Take Photos Beforehand

    One great tip that was offered up by the RE/MAX Influencers was to, if possible, have the listing photos of your home taken before decorating. This will allow potential buyers the chance to see your space both with and without decorations, and also will keep the listing photos from looking outdated if your home is still on the market in the months after the holidays.

    Keep it Simple & Generic

    Another tip that was provided by the Influencer panel is to keep your decorations simple and generic. While you may normally go full out with decorating for the holidays, try to keep the décor simple if you’re trying to sell. This will help keep your home from looking too cluttered and will allow potential buyers to see where their own decorations might fit if they are thinking of making an offer.

    Keeping your décor generic will also help prospective buyers to envision themselves in your home, as not everyone celebrates the same holidays. Keeping things simple and generic will allow your home to be viewed as being festive and cozy, while also being approachable to potential buyers.

    Some examples of simple, generic décor could be adding things like throw blankets on the end of beds or adding a festive wreath to the front door.

    Tuck Personal Items Away

    While it may be tempting to pull out festive family photos from past holiday seasons and put them on display, it may not be the best idea if you’re trying to sell during the holidays. By tucking personal items away, as mentioned above, you allow potential buyers to see themselves in the space, without being distracted by personal items that belong to the current owner.

    One Influencer made a great comment, suggesting that if you have a Christmas tree decorated only place “fake” wrapped boxes under the tree and remove any tree ornaments that may hold value and sentiment to keep them safe and help protect your privacy.

    Don’t Overcrowd the Space

    When decorating for the holidays, it can be tempting to go all out with décor. It is important to keep space in mind when decorating, so you aren’t blocking any key viewpoints or restricting access to parts of your home that potential buyers may be trying to look at.

    If you typically decorate with a large, bushy Christmas tree, consider getting something that is slimmer to help make your space appear more spacious.

    Keep it Classic Outside

    When staging your home for the holiday season, many people only think of the indoor spaces. The outdoor curb appeal matters too! You may love putting out your festive holiday inflatable decorations every year, but consider keeping those tucked away for the time being if you are actively showing your home during the holiday season, as they may not be everyone’s ideal décor options.

    The RE/MAX Influencers suggest keeping outdoor lighting simple and classic by using white/yellow bulbs and string lights to keep your outdoor décor simple, while also looking sophisticated and classy. Consider utilizing any pillars or railings on the front step/porch by wrapping them with string lights and a garland, or putting down a holiday-themed doormat to help welcome prospective buyers to your home.

    Courtesy of REMAX.ca

    Top 8 Winter Home Energy Solutions

    Energy bills can get dramatically high, especially during Canada’s cold winter months. There are steps you can take to conserve energy and save some money at the same time. Below are our top eight Winter Home Energy Solutions.

    8 – Turn Down the Temperature

    When you’re away from your house for a few days, you don’t need to keep the heat cranked up. By reducing the temperature when you’re out of the house, you can save money on heating costs.

    Another idea is to add an extra blanket on your bed and reduce the temperature by a couple of degrees at night.

    7 – Seal Unwanted Leaks

    Caulking and sealing leaks will insulate your home better, which will save you money in the long run.

    You’ll want to make sure you’re buying the correct type of caulk, depending on what specifically needs to be sealed, and whether it is interior or exterior.

    6 – Replace Furnace Filters

    It’s a good idea to keep your furnace properly adjusted with annual maintenance.

    This will include cleaning or replacing your filters every couple of months to improve efficiency.

    5 – Save Money on Water

    There are several ways you minimize water consumption. Low-flow shower heads and smaller toilets will minimize water output.

    You’ll also want to make sure you fix any leaky taps that might be constantly wasting water.

    4 – Update Old Appliances

    Refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers and washing machines that are a couple of decades old may be using significantly more energy than newer models.

    Sometimes the investment in a new major appliance will save you money in the long run.

    3 – Use an Area Rug

    We like to be barefoot in our own space, but when our feet are cold, so is the rest of our body.

    Consider purchasing an area rug for rooms in your home that have cold floors.

    2 – Unplug Electronics

    Electronics that are plugged in still use energy, even when you’re not using them.

    By unplugging electronics and small appliances when you’re not using them, you will ensure that there is not additional energy being used up.

    1 – Switch Lights Off

    One of the simplest ways to reduce your energy use is by flicking off lights when you leave a room.

    It’s also a good idea to switch to energy-efficient lighting.

    Courtesy of REMAX.ca