Here’s What Pushes People to Buy Homes in 2015

  If you want to sell your property quickly, at near the asking price, it is important to know why people are buying.  In this post, Realtor.com chief economist, Jonathan Smoke, suggests we pay attention to the five main triggers for home buyers: they have grown tired of their home and want a change, interest rates are exceptionally low, housing prices are favourable in many markets, they need or want more living space and they have the money to spend. ...

Unchecked Emotions Can Cause Costly Property Mistakes

  We are sometimes enthralled by the presentation of a property, but ignoring the things we cannot see or overlooking obvious problems and risks can lead to disastrous consequences. To the extent possible, put your emotions aside and make buying property a business decision based facts and data.   Getting Too Attached To A Property   Impulse decisions in real estate can cost major dollars and can have life altering effects. If you fall in love with a house, you may ...

The Number of Real Estate Appraisers Is Falling. Here’s Why You Should Care

  According to this realtor.com post, the number of real estate appraisers is dropping to the point where parties on both sides of real estate transactions could suffer. Since most residential mortgages need an appraisal before a sale closes, a shortage of appraisers will affect buyers, who rely on accurate valuations to structure their offer, and sellers, who can lose a deal if appraisals come in low.   The Appraisal Institute notes the number of appraisers has dropped 20% since 2007 ...

Boost Your Curb Appeal with 4 Doable DIY Projects

  Most sellers realize that preparing the interior of their homes for viewing is essential.  In this article, Bob Villa explains it is just as important to stage the exterior of your house as it is to prepare the inside rooms when you are selling.  For example, a clean, well-maintained yard will signal that you have taken care of the property during your time as owner.   Power washing the garage door, driveway and fences will add to that impression.  ...

5 must-do’s for first-time home buyers

  This homeownership.ca article by real estate lawyer Mark Weisleder gives the essentials for the novice buyer.  Start by calculating what you can afford (general rule is 30% of gross income).  Then, figure out what is important to you and search for properties with those features.  Ask the seller about flooding, leaks, mould, insurance claims and neighbourhood problems.  Pay for a thorough home inspection by a qualified inspector and buy an after-sale warranty.  To read more click here.This article was ...

5 Steps to a Safer Bathroom

  If you are planning to remodel your bathroom this Consumer Reports article give sound advice on how to do it with safety in mind.  Install pressure-balancing and anti-scald valves to provide a steady flow of water that remains at a safe temperature.  Add a sturdy, properly secured grab bar that will support 250 pounds.   Since mold and mildew thrive in a moist environment, ensure your vent fan exhausts to the outside and run it after every shower to ...

How to Reduce Your Energy Bill with No Cost or Sacrifice

  This excellent post from Adam Dachis on lifehacker.com tells how to lower your electricity bill easily, at no cost, by using your appliances more efficiently.  For example, promoting optimal air flow will lower energy costs by reducing the demand on your cooling/heating system.  Opening all vents in the house and replacing filters on a monthly basis will support ideal air flow, while standing or ceiling fans can be positioned to push hot air up and out (summer) or down ...

Inexpensive Ways to Make Your Home Green

  In this bhgrelife.com post, we learn just how easy it is to join the green movement and become an eco-warrior.  For example, by improving the energy efficiency around home, you reduce consumption, conserving the planet’s resources and saving money at the same time.  Installing a programmable thermostat lowers consumption and, surprisingly, a fully loaded dishwasher uses less energy than manual washing.   Changing furnace filters and cleaning dryer lint traps regularly will improve operating efficiency and reduce consumption.  Green ...

Why Millennials Are Moving Home Design Trends

  In this article for Freshhome magazine, Shelly Little explains how Millennials, the generation born between 1980 and the early 2000’s, are redefining home design.   According to her research, Millennials value money and success, individuality and urbanized environments.  And, they want this outlook reflected in their homes.  They want small designs that are unique and functional so they are willing to buy fixer-uppers or engage in DIY projects.  They also desire technological innovations and smart automation.  These attitudes are causing ...

Buying Near Parks and Recreational Facilities

  According to RealtorMag, twenty-three percent of recent buyers indicated that convenience to parks or recreational facilities influenced their choice of neighborhoods.  Proximity to parks and recreational facilities was the most important to recent buyers aged 34 and younger, and to those aged 35 to 49.  Here are some reasons to believe those numbers will rise.   Public Health Concerns   The alarming increase in obesity, especially among children, has focused attention on how important physical activity is to our ...

Green Renovations — Basements

Virtually all homeowners will find something of use in this detailed and practical fact sheet from Central Mortgage and Housing Corp (CMHC).  If you’re planning a basement renovation, it’s a must read, filled with time, energy and money saving tips, features and advice on how to green any project, from extensive, expensive renos to slower, more affordable and incremental upgrades.   The guide explains nine site factors to consider during the planning stage (structural conditions, air quality and circulation, moisture ...

Emotional Homebuyers Can Lose Out On The Best Deals

    When we really like a property, we can overlook or downplay its negative aspects.  This homeownership.ca post advises us to approach purchasing a home as a business decision and to remove emotion from the decision.   Before viewing any properties, contact a financial adviser to set your budget, a mortgage broker to get pre-approval for that amount and a real estate agent familiar with the area(s) you like.   Call and introduce yourself to 3 professional home inspectors ...

6 Sneaky Ways to Make Your Home Look Expensive

  If you want to convert your home’s look from average to exceptional, this Realtor.com post by Jamie Weibe tells you how.  Remove mismatched decor items, store toys/magazines and organize your things to fix a cluttered appearance.  Clean and re-grout tile to make it look new.  Use traditional, neutral tones to freshen paint in areas that need it.  Upgrading hardware, faucets or countertops are all relatively inexpensive ways to give kitchens and bathrooms a more luxurious appearance.  Adding or rearranging ...

Underwriting insights! What Every Homebuyer Should Know Before Applying for a Mortgage

  This homeownership.ca post tells why an understanding of underwriting is a key advantage for home buyers seeking a mortgage.  Work with a mortgage professional to get pre-approved for a mortgage so you know your price range and can make an offer instantly.  The pre-approval process determines the size of mortgage and type of home you can afford.  You will need to assemble your credit report and other documentation (financial and employment history, creditworthiness, income) the lender or mortgage insurer ...

Create a beautiful bathroom for the ages

  As people age, reduced mobility, impaired balance, failing vision and muscle weakness make them more susceptible to injuries in their home, and bathrooms are no exception.  This Consumer Reports article tells how the latest design trends are helping owners upgrade their bathrooms with changes that enhance safety while retaining their beauty and avoiding an institutional look. In addition, subtle name changes have made useful improvements like shower rails (formerly called grab bars) and higher-seated toilets (“comfort height”) more acceptable.   ...

Why Cleaning Window Screens Should Be Part of Your Winter Strategy

  Should removing and cleaning the window screens be part of your winter maintenance routine? According to this houzz.com post, there are several benefits to be gained. Simply put, dirty mesh blocks light, heat and the view. For example, you get 30 to 40 percent more light coming in without screens on the windows.  More sunshine means you need less artificial light and can save on energy costs.   In addition, removing the screens increases the solar energy getting through to ...

Ottawa Real Estate Update: November 2015

Mild weather and post-election enthusiasm spurs on home buyers!   Statistics are useful in establishing trends but should not be used as an indicator of an increase or decrease in value of specific properties. If you are curious about the value of your home and/or specific neighbourhood statistics we would love to help. Contact us.         Information below provided by the Ottawa Real Estate Board December 3rd, 2015 Members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board sold 990 ...

Not Only Millennials Want Walkable Communities

  A walkable community is well-planned, compact and designed for people to walk to work, school, parks restaurants and activities as a form of everyday transportation.  According to a National Association of Realtors survey, more and more buyers want to live in walkable communities.  The study found that fully 12% more Millennials, the generation born between the mid 1980’s and early 2000’s, would rather walk to their destination than drive.  But, fitness enthusiasts and eco-friendly individuals also desire walkable neighbourhoods.   Aging ...

Higher electricity costs: how to circumvent them

  Because the cost of electricity is expected to rise as a result of the federal Liberals’ green energy policies, prudent investors should pay attention to the energy consumption of their rental properties. This Canadian Real Estate Magazine post advises landlords to find ways to become more energy efficient such as installing programmable thermostats and motion sensor lights. More important is to pass the higher cost of hydro on to their tenants, whenever possible, and to implement an energy consumption ...

9 Bad Habits That Are Killing Your Appliances

  This slide show from Bob Villa is an excellent visual representation of how NOT to treat your appliances. For example, an overloaded washing machine stresses the bearings and misaligns the drum. Overfilling the freezer can block air vents, restrict the flow of cold air and overtax the condenser. Clean spills right after using the oven as they can damage the heating coils. To read more click here.  This article was first published on https://www.teamrealty.ca/. ...

Ottawa Named 3rd Best City in the World for Quality of Life; Here’s Why

  In this Point2Homes post, Nadia Balint attributes Ottawa’s stellar, but unsurprising (to locals),  ranking in the recent Numbeo Quality of Life Index to three characteristics: Ottawa is young and fun with almost half the population under 35, it promotes and supports family life and the housing is relatively  affordable.  The Index rates factors like purchasing power, safety, property price to income ratio, and pollution.  To read more click here.This article was first published on https://www.teamrealty.ca/. ...

Your Complete Guide to Pest-Proofing This Fall

  To prevent an onslaught of pests from occupying your house as the weather cools, simply  follow the National Pest Management Association guidance presented in this post from Bob Villa. Seal cracks in the exterior envelope, especially where utility pipes enter, with silicone caulking.  Fill larger gaps inside your home with steel wool. Pests avoid the roughness of the steel fibers and rodents cannot gnaw through it. Repair ripped window screens, door sweeps and loose mortar in the basement foundation, ...

Your Guide to 10 Popular Landscape Paving Materials

  If you are considering landscape paving, this excellent Houzz.com post by landscape architect Falon Mihalic includes guides to 10 of the most popular materials.  Focused on cost, climate, maintenance and functional application, the guides explain the pros and cons of cast-in-place concrete, the cheapest option, pre-cast concrete, gravel, limestone, brick, slate, tile, bluestone, granite, and travertine.  Mihalic also notes that many of the materials can be reused and suggests where the cost and/or environmentally conscious consumer can find them.  ...

How to Stage Your Home for Fall Showings

  This Zillow.com post by Nathalie Wise suggests that the time and cost of staging your home can result in higher sale prices and less time on the market.  Remove clutter, store items that could distract viewers and move furniture away from walls to make your spaces appear larger.  Clear counters and deep clean everywhere because it’s still the best way to make a house shine.  Allow potential buyers to visualize themselves in the home by taking down family pictures ...

8 Deer-Resistant Elegant Evergreen Shrubs to Plant This Fall

  Shrubs bestow privacy, a sense of enclosure and a splash of colour during winter.  In this houzz.com post, Brian Barth gives hope to discouraged homeowners who are tired of watching the local deer population feast on their shrubs.   Needle-bearing shrubs like the juniper will survive deer grazing, but they can lack artistic appeal.  Barth identifies 8 other options that have at least one redeeming aesthetic trait besides being evergreen.   Heath and heather are an unusual group of ...

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