How to Make Your Laundry Room More Efficient

As time goes by, it feels like we only get busier as a society. Small household tasks can seem overwhelming between work, family obligations, and social events. While some people may find peace in spending a day at home, cleaning and getting things in order, others are seemingly always rushing around trying to squeeze small household tasks in before jetting off to the next event. This is where creating an efficient living space can pay off in dividends. Arguably, one of the more time-consuming chores at home is laundry – and the bigger the family, the more laundry there will be, leaving you wondering how to make your laundry room more efficient.

We will take you through some of the best ways to make your laundry room more efficient to hopefully give you some peace of mind and extra time in your life to do the things you enjoy.

How To Make Your Laundry Room More Efficient

Make Use of the Space Above Your Washer and Dryer

The laundry room can be a great place to store household cleaning products, and by installing cupboards above your washer and dryer, you can make sure any dangerous solutions are kept out of reach of both children and pets.

In addition, by installing cupboards above your washer/dryer, you’ll have a convenient place to keep laundry soap, fabric softener, and all your other laundry cleaning products. Cabinets and closed-off storage spaces can also double as chalkboards by either using chalkboard paint on their front or installing chalkboards over the cupboard front. This way, your to-do list stays within eyesight and in an area you go to frequently – ensuring no task gets forgotten.

Invest in Decorative Storage Containers and Label Them

Aesthetics do make or break a room. After putting time and thought into the decorative aspect of your laundry room, painting the walls, and colour coordinating everything, why would you want to keep the bottle of laundry soap on display in the original packaging? This is where investing in some decorative storage containers can be a game-changer. It will add to the room’s aesthetic, and it will also make you feel better about the cleanliness and state of the laundry room – making the whole task seem far less chaotic.

A good idea is glass or plastic matching storage containers for all your laundry soaps, fabric softeners, and stain removers. Make sure you put a label on the front of the jar to know exactly what you’re using – the last thing you want is to use fabric softener instead of laundry detergent!

Create a Sorting Station 

Creating a good sorting station can remove a lot of stress from the laundry room. You can invest in cute clothing bins that are labeled, so you know what is clean and dirty, or so you can sort your unwashed laundry by washing needs like dry-cleaning, hand wash only, and machine wash. If you have small children who are beginning to learn how to complete small tasks around the house, this is also a great way to introduce them to sorting clothes and can assist you when teaching them how to do laundry.  

Invest in Hidden Drying Racks

One of the most space-consuming objects in a laundry room is the drying rack – and sometimes, it feels like we never have enough space for all our clothes that need to hang dry. Installing fold-down drying racks or tension rods is a great way to use the space in your laundry room better while also giving you adequate room to hang dry all your delicate clothing.

Make Use of the Entire Room

Who says the laundry room has just to be a laundry room? If the space is big enough, double the laundry room up as either a play space for the kids, a mudroom if it’s off an entry point to the house or a quiet area. To do this, consider installing curtains to cover up the washer and dryer when not in use.

Laundry is the one task that seems to be never-ending; as soon as you think you’re all caught up, there is always more laundry to be done. Making your laundry room efficient and calming can change your whole outlook on the chore and make it at least a little more enjoyable.

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The Best Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Agent

It’s no secret that buying or selling a home can be one of life’s most stressful endeavours. With so many unknowns and variables at play, limiting stress during this event can help make the process more enjoyable; one of the simplest ways to help reduce the stress and anxiety attached to purchasing a home is to hire a real estate agent.

The Role of a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent acts as the intermediary between buyers and sellers. The agent will connect the two and handle all legal negotiations to ensure the deal takes place without a hitch. A real estate agent helps clients sell, buy or rent their property. They also may guide the client when it comes to navigating the market, take them on showings, and assist them in the buying, selling, or leasing process.

While some people choose to buy or sell property privately, hiring a real estate agent has many benefits, which we will go more in-depth on below.

They Help with Timing

Timing is of the utmost importance when buying or selling a home, as the market fluctuates throughout the year. Working with a real estate agent can ensure that your property will be listed at the optimal time or that you will be buying when the market is in reach of your budget.

When selling your home, you want it to be bought quickly as the longer it sits on the market, the less desirable it appears to potential buyers – this is where listing your home at the right time can pay off in dividends.

When purchasing a home, you’ll want to wait until the market isn’t highly competitive – this means homes are usually priced more accurately. When the market is hyper-competitive, bidding wars occur, and houses can sell for far more than they are worth; as a buyer, this is not ideal – especially when you do not need to buy a home.

Handle the Paperwork

Buying or selling a home involves a lot of legal paperwork that needs to be completed correctly – this is where a real estate agent can shine. The paperwork completed by the home seller needs to be precise and accurate. If all information is not disclosed correctly, the seller could be held responsible for fraud, negligence, or breaching the contract. By having a professional do the paperwork for you, you can have faith that it will be completed correctly, and if it isn’t, you won’t be on the hook.

An Agent has Access to a Large Network of Listings

Many prospective buyers take to the Internet and begin hunting when looking for a home. However, homes aren’t always listed on the Internet immediately after being put up for sale. By working with a real estate agent, you can be sure to have access to listings as soon as they become available and have first dibs on any highly sought-after property.

Help Negotiate Prices

Real estate agents are well-trained in negotiation skills, and a good one will have a proven track record in this area. By working with an agent while buying a home, you could save thousands of dollars.

As a homebuyer, the process quickly becomes emotional. A real estate agent can help you keep the situation in perspective, preventing you from making emotional decisions that may not be in your best interest.

By leveraging a real estate agent to be the middleman in negotiations, you can be sure that the communication will be professional yet direct to get you the home of your dreams while staying within your price range.

Whether you are buying or selling a home, engaging the services of a real estate agent to assist you from start to finish is a complete game-changer. They will help reduce the stress by completing all necessary paperwork, negotiating with the buyer or seller, and keeping you up-to-date on the market conditions, all to ensure you get the most out of your experience in the real estate market.



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Property Taxes: What to Expect

In Canada, everyone has an opinion about property taxes. Whether city dwellers or rural folk, each side will argue that the other is not paying enough in property taxes, making for a heated and spirited discussion about levies on the residence you worked hard to purchase.

That said, aside from discussions over what the property tax rate should be, this is an important subject since many prospective homebuyers do not consider their annual tax bill as part of their ongoing expenses, whether they own a condominium or a single-family home, which could hurt their wallets in the future.

Planning for annual property tax payments is just as important as researching the rate on your mortgage or determining what your closing costs will be at the end of the home-buying process.

So, what do you need to know? We have compiled a guide for what you need to know about property taxes in Canada.

Property Taxes: What to Expect

Here are five things you should expect about property taxes in your housing market:

#1 Check the Rate in Your Area

One of the best ways to determine the property tax in your area is to visit the municipality’s website. Typically, the web portal will include a calculator and a list of rates. This will provide you with how much you can expect to pay using the Current Value Assessment of your property that the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation figures out.

#2 How to Pay Your Property Taxes

These days, there are many different routes you can take to complete your property tax payments. In addition, it has become a lot simpler these days, with municipalities finally catching up with the times.

Here are your payment options:

  • Online banking
  • Telephone banking
  • Automatic teller
  • In-person

In some places, you can also pay by check.

Often, your mortgage lender will collect your property taxes from you with every mortgage payment and submit them to your municipality on your behalf.

#3 What Do Your Property Taxes Cover Anyway?

Every province or municipality uses revenues from property taxes to cover different needs. So, for example, in the province of Ontario, homeowners will pay property taxes each year to cover the costs of public education, infrastructure, garbage collection, snow removal, and public services (police, firefighters, ambulances, and more).

#4 Consequences of Not Paying

You are required to pay property taxes. There is no other way around it. While your residential property could be seized by the government and sell it to get back the tax revenues, this process is rarely utilized since it can take several years to complete.

But it does not mean the government will give up. Instead, you are generally charged 1.25 percent each month. If you do not pay this fee and the overall tax bill, the collection process begins. You may also have a lien placed against your home.

Some jurisdictions might register a Tax Arrears Certificate if you have refused to pay your obligations after a few years.

#5 Can You Afford Property Taxes?

When searching for a home, you will generally consider the sale price, the mortgage rate, interest payments, fees and charges associated with the mortgage, utilities, etc. But what about the property taxes? The total amount can be challenging to crunch in advance but knowing the percentage in your town or city can make the estimation easier to put together.

For example, the property tax rate is about 0.61 per cent in Toronto. So, if you own a $1 million home, you will be forking over a little more than $6,000 each year. Everyone’s situation is different, and life can come at you pretty fast. In other words, you should calculate this in your budget when you are in the market to acquire a new residential property.

And don’t forget, in Toronto, you will have to pay the municipal land transfer tax, which can climb all the way to four per cent for home purchases worth between $400,000 and $2 million. This is in addition to the Ontario provincial land transfer tax.

Get Ready for Property Tax Hikes?

In the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, provincial and municipal governments need to develop different revenue tools to refill the coffers, reduce deficits, and trim their debt totals. Nova Scotia introduced new property taxes for non-residents, Toronto has been pressured to raise its property taxes, and city councils are assessing various property tax schemes and hikes.

When inflation is high and Canadian real estate market prices continue to soar to the moon; public policymakers are generally hesitant to increase property taxes. But they might not have any other choice in the future if fiscal pressures become prevalent during the budget creation process each year.


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Key Things to Avoid After Applying for a Mortgage

You’ve assessed your finances and the housing market and researched the various financial options open to you and your household. Then, you took the leap in applying for a mortgage – quite possibly the most significant money-related decision of your life. Now you play the waiting game.

This waiting period is perhaps one of the hardest parts of the home-buying process, determining if you have been approved or rejected for a home loan. While it can be challenging, you can be confident in your prospects if you have taken the necessary steps and employed the right strategies to receive approval and attain the best mortgage rate.

But it is not time to throw caution to the wind. In fact, you need to be more careful and judicious in what you do with your finances until you receive the funds to purchase, whether it’s a single-family home in Mississauga or a two-bedroom condominium in the Toronto housing market.

So, what are some things you should do? Or better yet, what are some things you should avoid doing, after applying for a mortgage? We have compiled a list of critical aspects you need to consider moving forward.

Key Things To Avoid After Applying for a Mortgage

#1 Avoid Making Large Purchases

You might have had your eyes on a luxury vehicle. You may have wanted to purchase new furniture for your new home. You may even have wanted to change your entire wardrobe in anticipation of your new roots in a different neighbourhood, city, or province.

Avoid making large purchases. This is because any significant cash outflow can impact your broader finances. Remember, when you take on a $500,000 mortgage, you are also enduring new monthly obligations, meaning that your debt-to-income ratio will be higher. This is what lenders monitor.

#2 Don’t Co-Sign Other Loans

You may want to help your best friend receive a new car loan or help your aunt get approved for a line of credit by co-signing these credit products. But this can be dangerous since co-signers are legally obligated for these loans if the borrower cannot fulfill their financial obligations.

#3 Refrain from Applying for New Credit

Be it a new credit card or a personal line of credit, one thing you should refrain from doing at this time is applying for new credit. Even if it is something you can afford, a check on your credit report will show that you have applied for new credit, which may affect your credit rating or score.

Remember, you want to have as high a credit score as possible. Even a slight reduction could affect your mortgage application odds. In the interest of a top-notch score, refrain from seeking out additional credit instruments until after you’ve closed on your purchase.

#4 Wait to Change Bank Accounts

Indeed, you might be enticed to change bank accounts because of a promotion or better interest rate, but this is something best left for another time. It would be more prudent to maintain your present suite of bank accounts because mortgage lenders want to source and track your assets and debts, which is easier done through a steadily held bank account.

#5 Keep Your Credit on Ice

By cancelling a credit card, do you think you can enhance your credit score and, thus, improve your odds of being accepted for a mortgage? Well, think again.

It is a common misconception that limiting your credit options can somehow work in your favour. But it is best not to close any credit accounts or cut up your credit card into little pieces, since it will not be beneficial to your prospects of being approved for a mortgage in today’s market.

Remember, mortgage lenders are driven by the depth and length of your credit history, not only your payment history. Overall, mortgage brokers and financial institutions home in on your total credit usage as a portion of available credit.

Final Thoughts

Let’s be honest: It can be harder to get approved for a mortgage. Average home prices are high across the country, the stress test has been raised, and interest rates are rising. Homeownership can appear to be a daunting task, but it is still within reach if you do your due diligence.

If you have the means to apply for a mortgage, you can enhance your chances by being extra cautious as you wait for that life-changing stamp of approval.


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Are Modern Houses More Energy-Efficient?

Are modern houses more energy-efficient? Though this wasn’t a question that many homeowners considered decades ago, we’ve reached a point – both socially and technologically – where energy efficiency has become a real consideration and priority in building houses. With the effects of climate change on the rise, Canadians have become more and more invested in doing their part to minimize their environmental impacts.

But the perks of energy-efficient homes aren’t all ecological. Modern technology can potentially help homeowners save on their monthly bills and enjoy greater convenience when they take advantage of certain home upgrades.

Of course, benefiting from these perks is contingent upon whether modern houses are actually built in a more energy-efficient way than homes built just 10, 20 or 30 years ago. Let’s find out whether that’s the case!

An Overview of the Energy-Efficient Home

The simple fact is that any home, new or old, has the potential to be energy efficient.

A few characteristics of an energy-efficient home might include:

  • Airtight construction
  • Air-sealing around cracks and crevices, such as windows and doors
  • High-performing or ENERGY STAR equipment, such as air conditioning or furnaces
  • High-performing or ENERGY STAR windows
  • ENERGY STAR appliances
  • ENERGY STAR lighting
  • Solar power
  • Strong insulation

If “ENERGY STAR” is new to you, the term encompasses a range of government-verified products proven to increase energy efficiency and ultimately promote more significant cost savings for consumers.

Do Energy-Efficient Fixtures and Cost Savings Go Hand in Hand?

You might be wondering whether energy-efficient home features can really facilitate more significant cost savings, and the answer is “yes.”

For example, an upgraded home designed with energy efficiency in mind might have ENERGY STAR windows, which can reduce your heating and cooling bills. This is because the materials used to build this window are commonly fiberglass or vinyl, which better insulate a home and prevent air from entering or escaping. ENERGY STAR windows are also more environmentally friendly than traditional windows for this very reason.

Moreover, installing ENERGY STAR-certified LED bulbs last about 15 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs. In fact, the average cost savings of just one ENERGY STAR LED bulb is $55 over its lifetime.

Environmentally, an LED bulb is more beneficial than traditional lighting because 95 per cent of its energy goes toward lighting, with only five per cent of its energy wasted as heat. LED bulbs carry out their true purpose more effectively than their incandescent counterparts.

These are just a few of the ways that installing energy-efficient fixtures in a modern home can result in both financial and ecological perks.

Are Newer Homes Really More Energy-Efficient?

With many details of this question already fleshed out, let’s get right down to answering the question of whether new homes are really more energy efficient.

If you’re in the process of building your own home or are investing in a house built in the last few years, it is automatically considered to be more energy-efficient than older homes (in most cases). The reason for this lies in the way homes are designed today as opposed to decades earlier. For instance, if you work with a reputable builder, you can already count on better insulation compared to a home built 50 years ago.

In addition to the simple fact that construction practices have evolved and improved over time, you as the homeowner can opt to install more energy-efficient fixtures with ease. ENERGY STAR windows, appliances, and lighting have become more affordable and more widely available than ever before and are more effective in reducing greenhouse gasses than they have ever been.

As a final note, a growing number of people are turning to solar power as an eco-friendlier means of powering their homes. Though it hasn’t historically been the most efficient option for generating energy, a new era of solar power is potentially increasing the percentage of efficiency from around 22 per cent to nearly 33 per cent. Thus, solar-powered homes have the potential to become more energy-efficient than they once were; however, it is worth noting that climate plays a prominent role in the overall efficacy of this type of energy.

Final Word

Ultimately, modern houses are more energy-efficient than homes built just decades ago. Much of the reasoning for this lies in new and improved building practices and standards, which result in more airtight houses.

With less outside air penetrating climate-controlled homes, and less air escaping through crevices, homeowners will use less energy (and save more money) heating or cooling their houses.



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Budget-Friendly DIY Kitchen Renovation Projects

Of all the rooms in your home, you are probably spending the most time in the kitchen. Whether as the place where you prepare meals each day or as an entertaining space, a lot can be done to improve it and to get the most out of this space. The good news is there are lots of DIY kitchen renovation projects that will make a significant impact without breaking the bank. The other good news is that kitchen upgrades are one of the best things you can do to increase your home’s resale value.

The ideas listed below won’t cost a bundle but may bring you closer to the kitchen you have always wanted. Read on to find inspiration for projects to improve the heart of your home.

DIY Kitchen Renovation Ideas

Refacing Cabinets

Sure, you’d love just to rip out all your cabinets and start again, but new kitchen cabinets are a costly endeavour. However, you can transform your cabinets without having to tear them all down. The first step is ensuring that the shell cabinets are still in good shape. If so, you can reface them by installing new doors and drawer fronts. Be sure to replace any gable ends and trim edges on any exposed surfaces.

Paint Your Cabinets

Perhaps refacing feels like it might be a little out of your price range. That’s okay. You can grab some paint and give your cabinets a fresh look without the expense of new cupboard doors. Be sure to remove all hardware and clean and sand all surfaces. Now, you’re ready to paint. Choose white to brighten the space or go bold and add a pop of colour to your kitchen.

Update Your Cabinet Hardware

It’s a simple task but updating the cabinet hardware can make a huge difference. Since you are painting anyway, it’s a good time to replace your handles, pulls, and hinges with something more modern.

Take stock of the metal tones that already exist in your kitchen, including your stainless-steel appliances.  You don’t want to have several types of metal in your space. Experts say that two metals in the room are enough.

Now that you have figured out the colour, there is the shape to consider: knobs, handles or bin pulls? Do what works for you. Let your style shine through. These simple changes will move you closer to the look you want to achieve.

Open Up Your Shelving

If you want to transform your kitchen’s storage space without the expense of buying purchasing new cabinets, consider open shelving. It will make your kitchen look larger while adding an extra layer of functionality. Let your personality shine through by accessorizing the shelves.

An Island Alternative

While most people dream of an island vacation, you’ve been dreaming of an island in your kitchen. This can be an expensive proposition if it calls for kitchen remodelling. The good news is that there are substitutes for an island. A counter-height table is an affordable alternative. It allows you to add seating and an island-inspired space without the costly expense of materials and installation.

Butcher-Block Countertops

Perhaps you’re coveting quartz or granite counters, but the cost per square foot is a little out of your price range. Butcher-block countertops are a great alternative for giving your kitchen a fresh look. The warm wood tone adds character to the space while giving you the durable surface you want.

Sink and Faucet Upgrade

Odds are, the sink is one of the focal points of your kitchen, so why not give it some love? Make a bold statement with a stunning new faucet. If you want something that really stands out, look beyond the hardware store. You may spend a little more, but it might give you the look you want and there are so many options to choose from. Research online and create a mood board of the look you want to achieve. This is a significant change to the space, so take the time to get it right.

Under-Cabinet Lighting

Maybe a kitchen remodel isn’t in the cards, but you still want to improve your lighting. This is possible with strategic under cabinet lighting. The best part is that you can add excellent task lighting without any wiring. Motion-activated under cabinet lights are a perfect option for the DIY route.

Pendant Lighting

Consider a bold decorative light over the sink. It provides essential task lighting and adds to the space’s aesthetic by creating a focal point.

Give Your Windows Some Love

When it comes to window treatments, less is more. Roller shades, bamboo blinds, or a DIY Roman shade are great options. These can instantly transform your kitchen into a brighter place. Whatever you choose, just be sure to let as much natural light in as possible.

Organize The Pantry

Is your pantry getting a little out of control? Give it some love by organizing it. Transfer everything into matching canisters, jars, bins, and baskets, each with its own label. These storage solutions will keep your pantry organized and tidy, making working in the kitchen that much easier.

One DIY Kitchen Renovation Project at a Time

There are a lot of ideas on this list. Be sure to take it slow and focus on one area at a time. Is it the sink you want to change, or will the cabinets transform the space? You can go for the small wins first and build confidence in your transformative powers. Work through one project at a time and savour each step before moving on to the next project. You’ve got this!


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Things To Consider in the Face of Rising Interest Rates

The Bank of Canada (BoC) has said it will be using its monetary policy to tamp down inflation, which currently sits at a 30-year high, joining the chorus of central banks worldwide trying to grapple with the rapidly escalating cost of living. So far this year, the BoC has already moved forward with rising interest rates three times, and Governor Tiff Macklem is preparing the financial market for more quantitative tightening in upcoming policy meetings.

But while the objective is to garner a stranglehold on a surging consumer price index (CPI) and producer price index (PPI), rate hikes will lead to financial pain for borrowers, investors and homebuyers.

Indeed, the Canadian real estate market is seeing the effects of a rising-rate environment. According to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), in April, national home sales tumbled 12.6 per cent month-over-month. The national average home price was about $746,000, down a tepid 0.6 per cent month-over-month.

After 12 years of ‘higher interest rates are just around the corner,’ here they are,” said Shaun Cathcart, CREA’s Senior Economist, in a statement.

Now that Canada is waving goodbye to the era of historically low interest rates, what do homebuyers and owners need to consider in a post-pandemic economy where rates are on the rise?

Things To Consider in the Face of Rising Interest Rates

Here’s what buyers and sellers need to consider in a rising interest rate environment:

Selling Soon?

If you are thinking about selling your home soon, work closely with your real estate agent to determine if higher borrowing rates may impact your listing price. Do you need to under-price the home to generate attention, or should you list it at its appraised value? Whatever your strategy, some markets have shown signs of moderation, so you may not see the same frenzy that became the norm during the last two years.

Are You Pre-Approved?

With interest rates on the rise, it is more important than ever to get pre-approved for a mortgage. This allows buyers to lock in at the current rate while you shop for a home and ensure that you enjoy some level of protection against near-future interest rate increases. Also, by having a pre-approved mortgage, you can take comfort in knowing how much money you have to work with during the home-buying process.

No More Frenzy?

Suffice it to say, now that rates are increasing the flurry of demand seems to be waning somewhat, with fewer buyers competing for the limited number of homes on the Canadian real estate market and fewer bidding wars. Instead, buyers may be able to calmly negotiate prices and come to reasonable terms and conditions with the seller, such as critical home inspections and property appraisals.

Stress Test Your Budget

Can you afford a higher mortgage payment in five years, when it’s time to renew your mortgage at a higher interest rate? Both buyers and sellers need to consider this in today’s rate normalization since greater borrowing costs could add financial pressures to your monthly household budget. Plan ahead and stress test your budget.

Waiting for a Crash or a Correction?

Now that Canada is moving on from the pandemic-era near-zero interest rate era, does this mean the housing market is in store for a crash? Not exactly, says Robert Hogue, the senior economist at RBC.

We think the sizeable drop in activity in April marks a turning point for the Canadian market with further cooling on the way. The Bank of Canada’s setting out to aggressively normalize its monetary policy is a game-changer for the market—turning what has been a tremendous tailwind into a stiff headwind for the market,” he wrote in a research note.

After a nearly two-year-long frenzy that propelled property values to the stratosphere in many parts of the country, a calmer outlook for the market should be welcome news. We expect the burgeoning price correction seen in Ontario and parts of British Columbia to deepen and spread to other markets as market sentiment sours, but it’s unlikely to morph into a meltdown.”

Suffice it to say, it is doubtful that a market like Toronto is going to eliminate all of its COVID gains.

Lots to Consider in 2022 – and Beyond

Indeed, there will be many things to think about in the Canadian real estate market moving forward, from mortgage rates to housing supply levels. While prices are elevated and are expected to remain that way until more inventory comes on stream, this might no longer be the red-hot housing sector we’ve become used to these last two years. Conditions seem to be stabilizing, the market is adapting to interest rates, and buyers and sellers may be rational again. Whatever happens, the next few years will be interesting!


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Top 10 House Hunting Tips

When looking for a place to call home, it’s easy to get sidetracked by thinking with your heart rather than your head. Although it takes less than seven seconds to make a first impression, a quick decision could lead to an unavoidable case of buyer’s remorse. In order to avoid this, we have listed a checklist for the top ten house hunting tips you need to know before you attend a viewing.


There are many things that can be changed, upgraded, or improved after you have purchased a home, but the location isn’t one of them. You need to think about the proximity to work, schools, and other attractions you frequently visit and also research any new developments or upcoming changes to the area in the future.


While air fresheners and open windows can clear out certain scents, it’s important to pay attention in order to sniff out other potential issues. For example, if you notice a damp smell, it could mean the home has poor ventilation or issues with mold.

Even Floors

Noticing a slanted floor is one of the major hints that there could be a large structural issue with the home. If you do notice something, you can ask your Agent to inquire with the owners or make note of it for the home inspection if you decide to go that far in the purchase process.


Natural lighting is something that is often overlooked in your house hunt, especially if you are viewing a home at night, or in the middle of winter. Think about how important natural lighting is to you, and plan your viewing times around when the lighting will be optimal.

Shape & Size of Rooms

It is important to take a good look at the layout to make sure not only you but also your furniture can fit comfortably in the space.


Is there enough space for everyone in your household to park or will this become an added expense? Additionally, if there is parking available, will your vehicle fit?


If there is laundry in the home, you need to make sure it is in an accessible location. If there is no laundry, is it in a convenient location you can easily get to with or without a car?

Storage Space

Depending on how creative you can get with your storage, you will want to make sure that there is enough room to store your belongings without things becoming cluttered or unlivable.

It looks perfect, but are you missing something?

Professional staging can sometimes fool buyers into thinking a property is perfect while diverting their eyes away from potential issues. Don’t let the professional décor and scent of fresh baked cookies take your attention away from the things that matter.

Assess the kitchens and bathrooms

The kitchen and bathroom are two of the most costly rooms in a home. Make sure you pay special attention to these rooms to avoid getting stuck with unwanted repairs or updates after purchasing the home.

While a home inspection will help advise you of any potential issues, it is still a good idea to pay attention to these things in the initial stages of your home search. This will also help ensure you don’t waste money on unnecessary home inspections. Remember to keep a list of everything for each house you view so you don’t forget days, or weeks later!


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New Homeowner Spotlight: Things to do ASAP!

As a new homeowner, this is an exciting time in your life. You’ve just bought a new house and you’re getting ready to move. You spend your time daydreaming about where your furniture is going to go, creating floor plans, and writing out interior design ideas so that you can make your new house a home.

With all the excitement and celebrations typically involved with this milestone, it’s completely normal to focus on the fun things involved in buying a new home. However, it’s essential to take some safety measures and set yourself up for success before you settle into your new digs.

Before Closing

The period between your offer being accepted and approval on financing, and when the deal actually closes and you receive the keys is a busy one. You’re usually allowed a couple of walk-throughs of your soon-to-be home with your real estate agent during this time. (The details of this would be included in your Agreement of Purchase and Sale.) Use these appointments as an opportunity to measure for window coverings and appliances, and assess the home’s condition with fresh eyes. During these walk-throughs, the house will be properly lived-in rather than staged, giving you a slightly different perspective from when you viewed it at the showing or open house.

You’ll also use this time to take care of pre-move tasks. You’ll need to make sure your furniture will fit, order appliances, arrange for movers, set up utilities and Internet, find out how property taxes are paid, and a host of other things. Pro Tip: Staying organized will do wonders for your sanity during this hectic time!

What’s the first thing a new homeowner should do after taking possession?

Once the deal has closed and you have the keys, the home is officially yours. If you have the luxury of time, you might want to do a couple of things before the movers arrive. Now would be the perfect time to have your new home thoroughly cleaned while it is empty. It is also an excellent time to have an exterminator do an inspection and even a preventative spray. Nobody wants to inherit somebody else’s issues!

If you’re in a position where you have extra time before moving in, this is the perfect time to paint! With no furniture or décor in the way, the painting will be easier and faster.

Change the Locks

Changing the locks should be done right away; after all, you have no idea how many people have spare keys. It’s just a smart thing to do.

Update Your Address

This is something you can do before you move in. However, there is always something that gets overlooked. Sign up for mail forwarding at the post office to avoid missing mail. When mail arrives with the forwarding markings (either printed on the envelope or with a yellow sticker), contact the sender and provide your new mailing address. Don’t forget to update subscriptions like subscription boxes or printer ink; you don’t want them going to your previous address.

Change the Batteries in the Smoke Detectors

You’ll have no idea how fresh the smoke detector’s batteries are. Change them right away for peace of mind. After replacing the batteries in both your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, test them to make sure they work.

Change Your HVAC System’s Filter

Anything circulating through your home’s HVAC system gets breathed in again and again. Install a fresh filter and vacuum your home’s cold air returns. This will also reduce allergens, particularly pet dander from the previous occupants. You might even consider having your ducts cleaned to improve your new home’s indoor air quality.

Get Things Checked Out

Unless a home inspection was performed at the time of sale, which is sometimes omitted in a hot market but always recommended, you really have little idea what condition the home is in. Having things like your plumbing, electrical, roof and HVAC systems inspected will give you a better idea of what you’re dealing with and potential expenses on the horizon. Rather than individual tradespeople, you might just spring for your own home inspection to get a full report on your home’s systems. The home inspection report can become your maintenance to-do list over the following months.

Moving into a new home is sometimes chaotic, but always exciting. A new homeowner should always take the time to do it right and learn how the house works. After all, you’re going to be spending a lot of time together.


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5 Reasons Why You Should Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

Buying a home for the first time is an exciting experience. While the process can be stressful at times, there are ways to limit unnecessary anxiety, and one of the most significant ways is to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you begin your house-hunting adventure.

To put it simply, being pre-approved for a mortgage means that a lender says you have qualified to borrow a specific amount of money for the purchase of a home. Pre-approval is based on various factors, and the process involves several different steps.

As the borrower, you can shop around for mortgages and compare options from different lenders. Throughout this process, you will learn the maximum amount of mortgage you qualify for and the estimated mortgage payments on the amount borrowed, while locking in an interest rate for up to 120 days from the date of the pre-approval.

On the lender side of the process, they will look at your financial circumstances including your income-to-debt ratio, credit score, and financial history. The lender uses all these factors to assess your borrowing risk and determine the amount of mortgage, interest rate, and terms you’ll qualify for. It is important to note that the mortgage pre-approval process does not guarantee you will be approved for a mortgage.

5 Reasons to Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage Before You Begin Your Home Hunt

1. You’ll Have an Idea of How Much Money You Have to Work With 

Buying a home is a significant investment of your money and time. This time investment only increases as competition in the housing market rises. This is precisely why having a mortgage pre-approval is essential before starting your search. By beginning the process with the knowledge of just how much money you can spend, you can keep your search realistic and give your real estate agent an appropriate price range.

Being well prepared with realistic expectations and a clear price range will save you time, eliminating homes that are out of your reach financially. You’ll also be able to give your real estate agent the information they need to find you a home that fits both your desired specifications and your budget.

2. Your Scope of Search Will be Narrowed

Continuing on the point above, knowing how much mortgage you can afford will narrow your search considerably. It will also give you a more realistic idea of what the market has for you. Perhaps the home of your dreams isn’t in the cards just yet based on your pre-approval, but maybe you can afford to buy a home that you can renovate and put back on the market at a higher price in a few years.

Being aware of your buying power before starting your hunt will cross any homes you cannot afford off your list.

3. You Become a More Competitive Buyer

The real estate market in Canada has been known to heat up from time to time, and in some of the larger markets, competitiveness never really dies down. In some areas, you could be competing for the same home with dozens of other potential buyers. When the market is hot, and competitiveness is high, time is of the essence. During the time it would take you to ask a lender if you can afford a home, that home will be snatched up by another buyer who already has their pre-approval in hand.

 4. You Become a More Desirable Buyer

When the market is tight, and there are competing offers on a home, the prospective buyer who makes a firm offer is more likely to win over someone who doesn’t – that’s just a fact of the market.

 5. It May Shorten Your Closing Period 

The closing process on the house starts with securing financing for the home. The process itself can take almost two months from start to finish. By already having your financing pre-approved, you can move on to the next step in the closing process.

As you begin your journey on purchasing either your first or your next home, getting pre-approved for a mortgage has many benefits and should be your first step to making the home buying process smoother. When you’re ready to buy, contact us and work with an experienced, professional real estate team who can help you navigate the market!




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