3 Ways to Add Value to Your Home

The value of your home fluctuates constantly and is dependent on factors such as location, local growth, your neighbours’ homes, and current market conditions. Those factors are out of your control; however, you can add value to your home yourself through the upgrades you make to your home. Here are some easy, budget-friendly ways to add value to your home.

Backsplash

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to add value to your home. Start with small upgrades like a new or refreshed backsplash. Applying a fresh coat of paint can cover up old stains and scratches. Retiling the backsplash is a task most beginner DIYers can achieve and will make your backsplash look brand new. Many home improvement stores also offer peel and stick backsplashes for an even easier application.

Hardware

Upgrading the hardware, such as your doorknobs, cabinet handles, and even light fixtures in your home can give it a more modern feel and help you make a statement. If you aren’t sure what kind of hardware you’d like to use, consider looking into stainless steel. It’s easy to care for, very durable, and attractive.

Paint

A fresh coat of paint can do wonders for your walls and cabinets. Make any room feel cleaner and more welcoming. Just remember to keep the colours neutral if you’re planning to sell your home.

3 Financial Questions to Ask Before Selling Your Home

Before you sell your home, you need to understand the finances involved in the process. This will help ensure you have a smooth transaction and set you up for success with your next home purchase. Here are the three most important questions to ask yourself before you get started:

What are the current market conditions?

As a general rule of thumb, the best time to sell is when listing inventory is low. More buyers vying for fewer houses means you’ll likely get a better deal for your home. When listing inventory is high, buyers have more options and you may need to price your home more competitively to get offers.

How much can I reasonably expect to get for my home?

Depending on the current market, the condition of your home, and how much homes similar to yours sold for recently, I can create a comparative market analysis that will give you a good idea of how much you could expect to get for your home.

How much do I owe on my home?

If you owe more on your home than it’s worth, it may not be a great time to sell. However, if you’ve built up a good amount of equity on your home, you could be looking at receiving a large check for selling your home. Take the amount you expect to get for selling and subtract how much you still owe to get a basic idea of how much you could walk away from the closing table with.

Figuring out if it’s the right time to buy or sell a home can be tricky. If you have questions or would like help figuring out when the right time to move is for your family, let me know. I’ll be glad to help!

10 Things To Do Before The Snow Falls

You’re still revelling in the heat of summer, but believe it or not, winter is coming. Now that September has come, you’ll want to start working your way through this fall home maintenance checklist. Ensuring that your home’s cold-weather systems are running efficiently will save you money and major headaches in the long run.

  1. Drain the Hose

Watering season is over, but you’re not done with your outdoor watering system quite yet. To avoid cracked hoses and burst faucets over the winter, turn off water valves in your home and drain all remaining water from the taps and hoses. Tip: Unrolling the hose down a gentle slope will let the water run out completely.

  1. Clear Vents

To prevent ice dams — ridges of roof ice that prevent melting snow from draining — ensure attic vents are free of debris. Poor soffit ventilation can increase mold inside the house and damage wood shingles during the winter months. Tip: A leaf blower or a pass with a pressure washer will clear them out and prep them for winter snow.

  1. Clean the Chimney

Ahhh, there’s nothing quite like the warming atmosphere of a wood-burning fireplace in the dead of winter. But once you’ve cozied up to your 70th fire, get that chimney inspected and cleaned of excess creosote, because it may cause chimney fires. Tip: Run the point of a fire poker inside the chimney liner and if there’s more than three millimetres of gunk, call a certified chimney sweep.

  1. Store Pots & Planters

If you decide to keep your collection of colourful clay pots outside for winter, make sure you empty the soil before you do. The moisture in the earth will expand when frozen, which can crack those precious ceramic containers. Tip: Removing the soil now will make it easier to reposition and replant the pots come springtime.

  1. Mind in the Gutter

Backed up gutters can cause all sorts of wintertime hassles such as roof leaks, ice dams and wall-focused water damage. Before the snow comes, get your gutters cleared out by a professional — leave ladders to the insured experts. Tip: Make sure all downspout extensions run at least 1.5 metres away from your home’s foundations.

  1. Caulked & Ready

A thin line of silicone caulking is one of the best ways to seal gaps in siding, windows and door frames. If you can see a gap that’s bigger than the width of a nickel, you need to get on it, to stop drafts and water damage in their tracks. Tip: Pick up some weather stripping for doors as well — you shouldn’t be able to see daylight from inside your home.

  1. Inspect the Roof

Pull out a pair of binoculars and give your roof a careful once-over. Keep your eyes peeled for damage or missing or loose shingles. Hire a handyman for patching jobs, or a roofing company for larger sections in need of some TLC before winter comes. Tip: Take time to investigate the flashing around chimneys and vent stacks, too.

  1. A/C Prep

While it may be tempting to wrap your entire external air-conditioning unit in miles of plastic wrap, resist the urge. Doing this can cause corrosion and is an inviting spot for nesting rodents. Instead, place a piece of made-to-measure plywood over the unit during winter and protect it from large, falling icicles and snowdrifts.

  1. Heating Up

Don’t wait until the thermometer dips below zero to think about your home’s heating system; prep now and be ready. A technician can inspect, test and clean your furnace or heat pump to ensure they’re in tip-top shape for winter. Tip: Ask for a carbon monoxide measurement at the same time as the inspection.

  1. Flip it and Reverse it

If your home is kitted out with ceiling fans, check the settings for a reverse option. Running fans in the opposite direction creates an updraft, pushing down heated air, which can help reduce your energy bill. Tip: If you have high ceilings, consider switching out the fan units for ones that have this setting.

Before the temperature drops too much, make sure your home is ready to handle the cold, wet winter months. A little prep work and elbow grease now will go a long way to help your home weather the coming storms — literally.

How to Prepare for the Fall Real Estate Market

Real estate is sold 365 days a year; it’s the new norm!  Fall can be a great time to sell your home. Below are some of the best tips for selling a home during the fall.

Analyze the Market & Price Your Home Right

Analyze the current state of your local real estate market. Understanding the type of market your area is experiencing is important: Is your local market type a sellers’ market, a buyers’ market, or a balanced market. It’s important when it comes to pricing your home accordingly. If you don’t know ask your Real Estate Agent!

 

Perform Applicable Inspections & Cleanings

If you’re planning on selling your home in the fall, tackle the inspections and cleaning part prior to listing your home for sale.

 

Decorate & Embrace the Fall

The most exciting part about fall! If you decide to sell your home during the fall, there are many decorating tips, staging tips, and ways to embrace the fall season. Be tactful with your decorating and try to appeal to the masses!

 

Clean Up the Exterior

The least exciting part about fall…is raking leaves. Don’t neglect the exterior of your home. Tasks that should be completed when selling a home during the fall include:

Raking leaves

Removing loose sticks

Weeding flower beds

Trimming flowers, bushes, and shrubs

Aerating the lawn

 

Prepare Your Home for Showings

When selling in the fall, ensure your home smells good. Popular ways to make your home smell warm and cozy while selling in the fall include:

Brewing a fresh pot of pumpkin spice coffee

Boiling cinnamon sticks

Burning fall scented candles

 

Selling a home in the fall is not for everyone, however, these tips can help expedite the sale of your home and maximize the sale price!

Farmers’ Markets To Visit This Summer

Toronto is a wonderful city known for many things including farmers’ markets!

Toronto neighbourhoods offer many farmers’ markets throughout the year for community members to enjoy. Below is a collection of some of Toronto’s best. Head out to discover all that they have to offer and leave the market with a bag full of fresh produce and fun memories!

Annette Farmers’ Market

When: Every Wednesday from May to October, 3pm-7pm
Where: Runnymede Presbyterian Church parking lot
680 Annette Street, Toronto, ON, M6S 1V9

Etobicoke Civic Centre Farmers’ Market

When: Every Saturday from June 2 to October 27, 2018, 8am-2pm
Where: Etobicoke Civic Centre
399 The West Mall, Etobicoke, ON M9C 2Y2

Humber Bay Shores Farmers’ Market

When: Every Saturday from May 26 to October 6, 2018, 9am-2pm
Where: Humber Bay Park West
2225 Lake Shore Blvd W, Etobicoke, ON M8V 3X7

Stonegate Famers’ Market

When: Every Tuesday from June to October, 4pm-7pm
Where: Christ Church St. James Anglican Church parking lot
194 Park Lawn Rd, Etobicoke, ON M8Y 3J1

Market Days at Montgomery Inn

When: Every Wednesday, year-round, 2pm-6pm (Indoor during the winter)
Where: Montgomery’s Inn
4709 Dundas St. W, Etobicoke, On M9A 1A8

Weston Farmers’ Market

When: Every Saturday from May 12 to October 27, 2018, 7am-2pm
Where: The GO Parking lot
1865 Weston Rd (South of Lawrence Avenue), York, ON M9N 1V9

Four Places To Take A Day Trip This Year From Toronto

Just like our license plates state, Ontario is “Yours To Discover”!

Scandinave Spa – Collingwood, ON

Spend the day relaxing in the heart of nature! Treat yourself to a massage or spend the day in the Scandinavian baths; either way, you are in for a day of quiet relaxation. Phones and electronics are prohibited during your stay, so be prepared to unplug and enjoy every minute of the tranquil environment situated on 25 acres of natural Ontario birch, Canadian maple and pine trees.

Rattlesnake Point – Milton, ON

Rattlesnake Point is one of the most beautiful places in Ontario: spend the day there in any season and you’ll see what we mean! Home to some of the best cliffs for climbing in Ontario offering a variety of different climbing levels. With three designated sites and more than 235 routes, you will enjoy scaling the cliffs under a canopy of rich woods.

Wine Country – Niagara-On-The-Lake, ON

Enjoy wine country with a tour of one of the many wineries in the area. Offering a wide variety of events, concerts, shops and attractions, wine tasting isn’t the only way to enjoy this Ontario gem!

Wasaga Beach, ON

Enjoy a day at the longest freshwater beach in the world! Wasaga is home to starting points for hiking trails over 50 km long, including the Pine Trail and sections of the Ganaraska Trail. Wasaga offers something for everyone. If you are planning a day trip make sure you stick around to enjoy one of the breathtaking sunsets!

Keep Your Plants Green!

Tip 1: If you don’t have enough time to water your plants or you travel a lot, set your plant in a shady area and remove the buds. This way they need less water.

Tip 2: Use proper soil, or better yet use fully composed yard waste. Supply your plants with the right nutrients, quality soil is key.

Tip 3: Give plants plenty of water – it’s crucial to their survival. It’s like plant 101.

Tip 4: Use a proper pot or container; it’s going to be your plant’s home for the rest of it’s life, talk about pressure. Nothing too big or too small, go with something just right; medium is the word. Your plant will grow the longer you take care of it and the right amount of space is fundamental to it’s growth.

Tip 5: Watch out for bugs! Some insects actually transport viruses from one plant to another.

Tip 6: Deadheading (cutting off the faded bloom) encourages the plant to keep producing more flowers or leaves.

Let Us Help With Your Spring Cleaning

There’s no better feeling than coming home to a clean house, which should be motivation enough to tackle a deep clean during this upcoming spring season. Spring cleaning is the perfect opportunity to get rid of all the stuff you can live without. While it’s true that taking on an entire home can make you feel like an ant about to climb a mountain, breaking it down room by room can ease the burden.

Start by making a checklist of all the essential tasks you need to do for each room in the house. Go through your checklist and check off everything you’ve done so far. It’s such a satisfying feeling when you start checking items off your list and it gives you just the motivation you need to go on. Now, no one said you have to get everything done in one weekend; if you give yourself five tasks per weekend, you can easily complete your list before spring ends. Go at your own pace and make sure you focus on the areas in your home that really need the most attention. The notorious and dreaded spring cleaning has an upside: it’s a project that will allow you to feel good about getting rid of all the stuff you don’t need, especially when you are looking to sell or simply de-clutter.

You can sell your unwanted items on Kijiji. This popular online advertising service has come up with a way to help you de-clutter while at the same time make a profit for your efforts! Another way to rid yourself of unwanted belongings and feel good about it at the same time is to donate unwanted clothing items, old toys and accessories. Take the extra step to help a foundation or donation and make a difference in your community. This time of year is also famous for hosting yard sales! If you like to get hands on, set up your very own street sale and invite your neighbours to participate to increase traffic in the community on the day of the sale. Some tips for hosting a successful yard sale are below:

  • Make sure you advertise! Have the kids create posters they can place around town. Don’t forget, less is more, so avoid the glitter and drawings and make sure the information is bold, clear, and short.
  • Have a plan: Not everyone is crazy about sifting through your used goods for the perfect find. Place hot ticket items at the front to draw people in and make them want to explore the sale further.
  • Name a Price: Make sure that all items are clearly marked with a price so your visitors can decide whether or not they would like to purchase it based on the price. If you have a bunch of small items, you can also create a table where all items are priced under a certain amount to encourage people to buy in multiples. People love a good bargain!

Armed with a plan and enthusiasm, you’re spring cleaning efforts will pay off in no time!

Listing Your Home in Spring is a Good Choice

On average, over the past five years in the Greater Toronto Area, selling your home in May could net you $60,000 more than if you were to sell in January. Last year’s Spring Market Report trends prove that there was a significant price increase and high demand in the GTA during the first quarter of 2017. Supply increased in the last few weeks of March, as more Sellers chose to list their homes.

We all know that timing can be everything, and choosing when to buy or sell a home could save you tens of thousands of dollars. While there tends to be more inventory for Buyers to choose from, there’s usually more competition which benefits Sellers.

Aside from the nice weather, a home tends to show better in spring and summer. Almost all houses look better in the late spring and summer when flowers start to bloom and the grass turns green again, so if curb appeal is a concern for you, this may be something to consider. More Buyers are also ready to buy as they might be looking to use their tax refunds as a down payment and with tax refund cheques in the bank, spring buyers pay full price more often. The advantage for Sellers with kids is that moving in the summer means schooling isn’t interrupted.
Overall, it’s a win-win.

Toronto’s Tree Campaign

Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation has been helping Toronto transform its parks and green spaces since 2002. They work with the City of Toronto, community groups, neighbourhoods and individuals to better the community and reimagine your local parks.

Every Tree Counts is a program in Toronto to grow our tree canopy to 40%. For all you tree lovers, this is the perfect chance to fill in that empty space on your lawn! By simply calling or messaging the City of Toronto, you can request to have a tree planted in front of your lawn or business. The Foundation’s website (http://everytreecounts.ca/) elaborates on the benefits of this initiative: “Making Trees Count funding aims to encourage innovative partnerships and support projects and collaborations that improve the quality of life for all of Toronto’s residents”.

Key objectives are to increase the number of native trees and shrubs planted on private land, to support tree care activities and to support communities including neighbourhoods with less trees. The program also strives to build community capacity, knowledge sharing, partnerships and networks while facilitating community driven, locally owned tree upkeeping efforts.

A representative will come to your property to examine exactly where your tree should be planted. They will determine which species of tree is best suited for your area depending on the sunlight and soil. Toronto is presently at 19.5% and is continuing to run this program to encourage communities and neighbourhoods to get involved and take the initiative to become a part of the Making Trees Count campaign.

For those who want to be further involved, they can also apply for a grant through the city’s Every Tree Counts initiative which funds tree giveaways and community events while providing an excellent opportunity to be hands-on in helping the community