Friday, August 9, 2019
If you’re looking to add that extra wow factor that some buyers are looking for, here are a few ideas for making your home stand out from the crowd.
Adding a new design element – If the façade of your home could use a little excitement, a new walkway, garage doors, or a beautiful timber frame porch are all projects that will add value to your home, meaning that you can recoup some of the costs.
Plant a tree – Trees are incredible. Studies have shown that trees on properties add value by increasing a home’s curb appeal and also adding to a neighbourhood’s “walkability” score. Trees have also been associated with lower crime rates and reduced tenant turnover! Choose a level site a minimum of 10 feet from any structure, depending on the species you’ve selected. Avoid overhead wires and underground pipes as well. A tree on the north side is a good windbreak. A tree on the south or west will help with cooling.
Dress up your driveway - A well maintained asphalt driveway should last up to 25 or 30 years. If yours is reaching the end of its lifespan, with noticeable cracks and crumbling areas, it may be time for a replacement. There are many options for driveways nowadays, including coloured asphalt, laid brick, concrete and laid stone. Your selection will greatly impact price – you can pay anywhere from $2-$10 per square foot.
While these are mainly big-ticket items for improving curb appeal, there are also a number of inexpensive ways that you can improve the look of your home. Try adding shutters, a lamppost, landscape lighting or a new mailbox and house numbers for quick and easy updates.
Friday, August 9, 2019
The first thing you’ll need to do is decide on the type of party you’ll be throwing. Will it be a sit-down dinner for six to 10? Or would you rather host a larger group with passed hors d'oeuvres and signature cocktails? Decide early on in the planning process. Your guest count will help determine the menu and refreshments, décor, table set up and “feel” of the evening.
One of the first steps to throwing a successful party is comfortable seating. Use outdoor furniture to set up one or two seating areas for guests to gather at. If you’re short on patio chairs, spread some cozy blankets on the lawn with a bunch of bright and colourful throw pillows. If it’s a casual event, tree stumps topped with small cushions are cute and functional.
Nothing sets the mood for a party like lighting! String lights have come so far in recent years and there are dozens of styles available. If your backyard is in the dark, you might get lucky with some late summer sales – check your local retailers. Other ways to add a cosy, warm glow to your party: candles, a tabletop fire pit, tiki torches or hanging Mason jar tea-lights (check online for instructions).
People always recall delicious food, so be sure to spend some time planning the menu for a really memorable evening! You can’t go wrong with appetizers so if you want to avoid preparing and timing a three or four-course meal, keep it simple with trays of tasty bites. If hosting less than 12 people, you should serve three to four different appetizers and plan on people eating five to six pieces per hour. Try to include a couple of vegetarian options.
One of the best things about appetizers is many can be made ahead of time and refrigerated or heated before serving, allowing you more time to mingle with guests! To save time, visit a local bakery to purchase sweet treats to pass around later in the evening.
Happy party planning!
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
House and Home
Since the sun’s powerful rays are very effective at heating up a structure, the first step is to consider how you can effectively block some of those rays and deflect some heat away from your home. A strategically placed awning, pergola or a few trees will block the sun from hitting your windows and doors 12 hours a day.
One of the easiest ways to keep the heat out is by closing blinds, drapes and shutters during the hottest part of the day. For those looking for a more permanent solution, exterior rolling shutters might be a good option. They are effective at helping to maintain a comfortable interior temperature, will reduce noise levels and also add an extra layer of your security to your home. The only downfall is price – good quality rolling shutters are expensive. Solar screens, which look like standard window screens, will cut glare in addition to heat. “Double glazing” your windows can cut the intake of summer heat inside your home by as much as 30 per cent.
Another simple and inexpensive option for keeping cool is oscillating fans. Lightweight and portable, fans have come so far in the past 20 years, style-wise, and are still an extremely effective way of keeping a room cool. Place fans in a few rooms throughout the main level of your home to keep air circulating. During the summer, ceiling fans should rotate counterclockwise to push cool air down. This evaporates perspiration, creates a cooling wind chill effect, and makes a room feel up to eight degrees cooler without changing the temperature in the room!
Still feeling the heat at home? Before you switch on the A/C, get rid of all the incandescent light bulbs in your home, barbecue as often as possible instead of turning on the oven, always use the bathroom fan to remove hot steam after showering and open the windows after the sun goes down to let in the cool evening breeze!
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
House and Home
You've done a lot of work to get to this point, between preparing your home for sale, sealing the deal and packing up all of your worldly belongings. The last thing you need is unnecessary stress on your closing date/moving day.
First, ask around for a moving company recommendation. Check with friends, colleagues, neighbours and family for referrals. If you're not able to get a good referral from a trusted source, check online websites like Kijiji, but proceed with caution! Ask the company to provide at least three recent references and follow-up with them. Request a meeting ahead of time to get a feel for the individual. Are they professional, prepared and courteous? Did they show up on time?
Once you've chosen a mover, get everything in writing. It's the law. According to Ontario's Consumer Protection Act (CPA), all moving contracts worth more than $50 must be in writing. Under the CPA, your contract must include:
1. The mover's name, address and contact information
2. A description of the service(s) and their prices
3. The total cost that you will have to pay, additional charges that may apply and taxes
4. Start and end dates for the service
5. The terms of payment (cash or cheque)
Other items that should be included in the contract are size and value of items, who is responsible for loss or damage, the number of staff and vehicles that will be provided and the name of the person who holds their insurance policy.
Hopefully with a little research ahead of time, you can help ensure a stress-free moving day!
Wednesday, June 5, 2019
It’s a good idea to designate a junk area, so that you avoid getting overwhelmed when you need to do a quick clean up! This can be especially important if you have children, because they can accumulate a lot of junk! Find a place in your home where you can store away large bins to temporarily store the things that you need to tidy up in a hurry for a last-minute showing. When doing a quick cleanup, put in bulky toys, messy papers and other items that collect around the house.
Before you start having showings, go through your home and declutter each room. This will help keep the house looking great, and with less stuff, there’s less to clean! Remove the items you no longer use and either pass them on to a family member or donate them. For the things you want, but don’t need at the moment, pack them up and tuck them away into storage.
Your house will also stay show-ready by having little extra touches around the house ready to impress at any time. So even if the house isn’t ‘perfect’ it’ll make the house seem clean and put together. Some examples of this are having a bowl of fresh fruit in the kitchen and vases with fresh cut flowers around the home.
If you keep on top of the cleaning and organizing, you should feel less overwhelmed when it comes to showing your home to potential buyers. Try to organize daily so that it doesn’t start to get stressful when you have short notice for viewings.