Want to make your bathroom look fantastic without having to do a major renovation? There are a lot of projects you can do yourself. In fact, there are some improvements you can get done in less than a day that will transform the look and feel of your bathroom. Check out these ideas:
• Update the sink. If you have some basic plumbing knowledge, this is a project you should be able to do on your own. A new sink can make the entire vanity look like new.
• Buy new decor. New shower curtains, towels, window coverings, mats, etc. can transform the look of a bathroom.
• Install new hardware. Replacing cabinet hardware may not seem like much of a change. However, it can have a surprisingly big impact. Shiny new hardware is like jewelry. It stands out.
• Replace the vanity mirror. Even if there are no scratches, an older mirror is like an old pair of glasses. It can become foggy. No amount of cleaning will make it any clearer. When ordering a replacement mirror, be sure that your measurements are exact.
• Paint. There's no doubt about it. A fresh coat of paint makes any room look better.
These bathroom improvement projects can make a huge impact on the look of your bathroom. And, they can all be done affordably and in just a day or two.
Ideally, when you sell your home, you want the process to go smoothly and relatively stress-free. While things may happen that are outside your control, there is a lot you can do to ensure that the selling experience is a good one.
Consider these four steps to reduce worry and stress when listing your home:
Step 1: Learn the selling process. Find out what to expect when the FOR SALE sign goes up. How will viewings be scheduled? Will an Open House be needed? What happens when there is an offer? The more you know, the less mysterious—and, therefore, less stressful—the experience will be.
Step 2: Schedule wisely. Use a calendar to block out times for viewings and other selling-related activities. Be sure to schedule plenty of time to clean and declutter your home before a viewing or Open House. Try not to have a tight schedule during the sales period.
Step 3: Anticipate issues. The more problems you can foresee, the better you'll be prepared to deal with them as they arise. For example, if you know you're going to have a busy week at work, start making plans now to deal with viewings and related matters during those days.
Step 4: Make decisions. Things can move quickly in the real estate market. There might be a few days when there are no enquiries at all, and then suddenly two offers will come in.
Be prepared to make some quick decisions. Fortunately, with sound advice from us as your real estate agent, making those decisions will be a lot easier.
So, follow these simple steps. They'll help make your sale less worrisome and even enjoyable!
You've heard of the term "curb appeal". It refers to the initial impression buyers get when they first see your property from the street. If the impression is a good one, it sets the right tone for the rest of the home viewing.
How do you boost curb appeal? Here are some proven ideas that you can get done in an hour or so:
• Wash both the inside and outside of the front windows. You'll be amazed at the difference that can make.
• Sweep the walkway leading up to the front entrance. Add a new welcome mat. Also, wash down the front door.
• If possible, remove cars from the driveway. Let buyers imagine their own cars parked there!
• Mow the lawn. Lightly trim the hedges. Weed flower beds.
• Remove anything from inside window sills that may look unsightly from the outside. Try putting a couple of flowering plants there instead.
• Place any trash bins out-of-sight. For example, put them in the garage or neatly at the side of the house.
• If the entrance door hardware is old and worn, change it. New hardware can make a bigger difference than you might think.
• Make sure the outdoor lights are working, especially if you're showing your home in the evening.
• Add some flowering plants to flower beds, or buy a couple of portable potted plants and place them strategically.
• Clean your mailbox. If it’s rusted, replace it.
• If you have a power washer, give the walkway and driveway a quick blast. Just be sure it will be dry before the buyers arrive.
These one-hour improvements may seem minor, but anything that helps buyers form a more positive first impression of your home is worth the effort.
Outdoor lighting has come a long way from the days of patio lanterns and strings of lightbulbs. These days, there's an exhaustive array of options available to illuminate your outdoor space, and make it more appealing and comfortable, particularly in the evenings.
Here are just a few ideas:
• Solar garden lights. These lights are on stakes that can be easily inserted throughout the garden. Powered by the sun, they generate enough energy to cast a soft, pleasant glow along walkways or in flower beds in the evenings.
• Deck post lights. These are easy to install because they're designed to sit on top of a standard 4x4 wood deck post. Most are solar powered.
• Street-style lamps. As the name implies, these look similar to oldfashioned street lamps. Installation is a little more complex, but still DIY-friendly. They're eye-catching and have a dramatic impact on the look of your outdoor space.
• Portable lantern lights. These are outdoor lights that are portable and often made to look like a decorative fixture for a coffee table or side table. They can be placed anywhere.
• LED walkway lights. These are small lights that fit neatly and almost invisibly under stairs and around walkways. Walkway lights not only look good but also improve safety. Most are battery powered.
• Planter lights. This is one of the most interesting options. Each one is both a flower pot and a light in one! The pot itself is translucent which allows the light inside to shine through.
Design experts say you should treat your outdoor space as you would any room in your home. Lighting it up for evening comfort and enjoyment is a good place to start.
As you probably know, it's easy to lower the costs of a renovation. Just hire an inexpensive, fly-by-night contractor — and hope for the best!
Chances are, you won't want to take that risk. So how do you ensure you get quality work while keeping your budget in check?
Here are some tips:
• Get estimates from at least three contractors. Often prices can vary widely, even amongst contractors with similar reputations and experience.
• Narrow the project focus. If you're getting a bathroom renovated, for example, decide whether you need the contractor to paint the new walls. Can you do that yourself?
• Shop around for the building materials. Yes, contractors often have access to wholesale prices. Still, you might be able to find a bathtub and vanity at a lower cost or at least avoid any markup the contractor may charge.
• Negotiate. Sometimes a contractor is willing to lower the price for concessions, such as quick payments or more time to complete the job.
• Schedule the renovation during a low-demand season. For example, deck contractors charge more in the spring than the fall. It's supply and demand. More people want their decks done in the spring.
Keep in mind that spending a little more for a skilled and reputable contractor can save you money in the long run. The renovation will have fewer, if any, "issues" (that may require an expensive fix) and will last longer.
If it’s been a while since you last moved, you might be wondering how much you'll need to spend on your next home. That's an important question to answer, even if you're just at the "thinking about it" stage and haven't decided whether or not you'll look for a new property.
After all, knowing your budget might influence your decision.
How should you determine your budget?
The first step is to calculate the maximum you can spend. This involves adding the money you'll get from the sale of your current property after repaying your outstanding mortgage, to any other funds you have available to invest plus the maximum amount of mortgage you qualify to receive.
Of course, just because you may qualify for a large mortgage doesn't mean you want those bigger payments. So, the second step is to think about your needs. What features are a must in your next home? For example, you might want four bedrooms and anything less would be a deal-breaker.
Make a "must-have list". That list can by used to find a baseline of properties on the market — and then find their average asking price. This will give you an idea of what it would cost to find a home that meets your must-have list.
The third step is to go beyond needs and consider the features you want. These might not be deal-breakers, but you'd sure love to have them in your next home. They could be a large deck, a location in a desirable neighbourhood, a big country kitchen, etc.
Ask yourself how much you would be willing to pay for those desirable features. $20,000? $50,000?
Once you've gone through these steps, you'll have the information you need to match your needs and wants to what's available on the market — and you’ll know how much you might expect to pay for your next home.
When you sell, you’ll probably want to get the best possible price for your property. Who wouldn’t? Unfortunately, there are many ways to inadvertently leave money on the table – sometimes thousands of dollars.
How do you avoid that possibility? Just remember the 4 Ps:
• Prep. Do everything you can to prepare your home so that it looks great to buyers. Clean, declutter, fix, make improvements. Home staging can also help. In fact, effectively staged homes have been shown to sell for up to 5% more than comparable unstaged properties.
• Price. Set the right asking price. That’s crucial. If it's too low, you'll attract only deal-hunters — and you might end up getting less than you should. If the asking price is too high, however, you'll discourage those buyers who might otherwise be interested and willing to make a good offer. Be careful with pricing!
• Promotion. There may be qualified buyers out there who would be eager to see your property. But, they need to find out about your listing and the great features of your home first! Reaching these buyers requires more than merely profiling the listing on the MLS. Homes that sell for top dollar often have strong marketing — directed to the right buyers.
• Proposal. Once an offer comes in, there may be an opportunity to negotiate with the buyer to maximize the final price you get. This requires deep knowledge of the local market as well as street-smart negotiation skills. If done effectively, these negotiations can help put more money in your pocket.
These four Ps are easy to remember, but sometimes not so easy to implement! That's why working with a great real estate agent is so important. Contact us to get the conversation started.
Imagine your coffee maker switching on by itself, staying on for hours, overheating and becoming a fire hazard. That's not science fiction. As more and more appliances incorporate WIFI, the opportunities for hackers to play havoc with your home gadgets increase.
How do you prevent that from happening? Here are some safety tips:
• If your gadget uses a password to access the settings, change that password frequently. Ideally, change it once every 3 months.
• Some gadgets, such as alarm systems, come with their own connection to the internet. Learn how to turn that connection off if it becomes necessary to do so.
• Don't leave an internet-connected appliance or other gadget on constantly unless it’s necessary. For example, you don't need your home speaker system connected to your digital music providers all the time.
• Baby monitors with video are a common target for hackers. Use a password unique to that device and change it often. Never leave the monitor on when not in use.
• Never share passwords with anyone unless it is absolutely necessary. Most home WIFI systems have a "guest" feature with a separate password and limited access. Use it.
In this age of internet connectivity — from coffee makers to stereos and even washing machines — it's smart to play it safe. Know what's connected and protect yourself.