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Email: jpappy@uniserve.com

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The basement is the perfect place to expand your living space and is often the unsung hero of taking your home to the next level!


When finishing your basement, it’s essential to consider the various options and choose which will suit your family and lifestyle best!


Additional bedrooms and bathrooms will always increase the value of your home, however, it may not be what your family needs.


Here are a few ideas on what you can do with your basement and have it ready to enjoy in time for winter!

Rental Suite

If you don’t need the space and would like the extra income, adding a rental suite is a great way to get a solid return on your investment.


Not only can this help pay for your mortgage, but it’s also a great selling feature!


This will be one of the more costly renovations, however, the return will be well worth it.


Be sure to check with your local municipality to ensure you are allowed a rental suite and obtain the correct permits before you start knocking down or building up walls. 

Games Room

Adding a pool table, dart board, arcade machine, ping pong table or whatever else fits your style and budget and is a great way to spruce up the basement.


This won’t take much in terms of renovations, however, depending on the games you decide to purchase they can become rather expensive.


A games room is sure to deliver laughter and plenty of fun for the whole family! 

Theatre Room

Get the popcorn ready! A home theatre is a great way to immerse yourself in movies, cheer on your favourite sports team, or binge-watch the latest series.


A theatre room could be as simple as a sofa and a big-screen tv, or you could go all out and decorate it from top to bottom with luxury upgrades, memorabilia, and recliner seats. 

Indoor Gym

A home gym can carry great functional purposes while potentially saving you money.


Gym memberships, personal trainers, and fitness classes can get extremely expensive over time. By having your own home gym, you only pay for the equipment you want or need.


No need to go all out from the beginning, start with a few weights and a bench, then purchase more as required. 

Storage Space

We always need extra storage space!


Installing some shelves and organizers to keep your belongings dry and organized will save you plenty of headaches when it comes time to pull out the camping gear or holiday decorations.


Additional storage space is always a plus when it comes time to sell your home too! 


When deciding how to renovate your basement choose an option that suits your family best! 

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You’ve finally made the decision to sell your beloved home and, of course, want top dollar for it, but you’re on the fence about hiring an agent to assist you with the sale.


While you may be considering not hiring an agent to keep those extra funds in hand, there are some significant reads why you should always hire a qualified, trusted agent to assist in the sale of your home.


EXPERT NEGOTIATORS


Agents typically have experience dealing with challenging buyers, bidding wars, and difficult market conditions. That experience may pay off, helping to assure you don't leave money on the table and guaranteeing you don't fall victim to costly contingencies or inspection failures that cost you more capital in the long term.


CONNECTIONS


Agents typically have impressive connections within the community as well as with attorneys, brokers, and inspectors — all of whom may play a role in your selling process. They're well-connected to other agents, too, who may have buyers interested in your home. Because of this, you want to be sure to choose a real estate agent that's well-connected and has a solid reputation in your area to ensure you get the best benefits.


EXPERTS IN THIS FIELD


Agents do a lot of behind-the-scenes work to support you in the home sale process, including helping you determine how much you should price your property based on market conditions. They also tend to be pros at knowing how to manage marketing both online and in person.


These professionals help you navigate the legal requirements of selling a house as well, such as completing (and understanding) complex legal paperwork, and reducing your risk.


Selling your home doesn’t start with putting up a sign, there’s a lot of research and preparation that goes into it before your home goes to market. An experienced agent will be with you every step of the way to assist in the preparation, pricing, staging, marketing, and much more! 


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Selling a home can be a stressful process, but selling it while it's still occupied brings it up another level.


You want to show the house as a clean, spacious, and attractive place for buyers to potentially call home and make an offer. At the same time, a property that is still occupied is filled with things that make it a home.


Getting your place ready to sell entails decluttering and cleaning to make it feel as big as possible.


We've put together a list of items that you should put away prior to listing your home, or at least hide during showings: 


Family Photos 


This one is easy, as the first rule of preparing a house for a showing is to make it as de-personalized as possible. The goal is to have the potential homebuyer imagine themselves in the home, especially if it's a family looking for a starter home.


While those pictures of last summer's trip to Disneyland or camping in Tofino are memorable to you, they aren't helping buyers envision themselves living in your home. So instead, put up pictures of beautiful landscapes or sunsets to create a sense of tranquillity and warmth.


Kid's Items


Children's toys can take up a lot of space, become distracting and make a room look "too lived in" to potential buyers who want to imagine themselves in the home with their belongings. The same goes for items such as bottle drying racks, activity mats, and the like. 


You'll be amazed at how clean the place looks after the toys are removed, and as a bonus, it allows your family to go through the items and see which ones need to be donated, thrown out, or kept.


We suggest having a secret storage spot under the bed that can hide clutter, as interested buyers will open all the doors but rarely look under the bed.


Valuables and Medication 


Jewellery, watches, and even electronics can go missing during house showings, given that homebuyers are walking around every room, sometimes with the owner away or unattended by the agent. So, put it all away in a secure spot that you know visitors won't easily find or lock in a safe. 


Leaving medications out in the open can be dangerous, not only for security purposes but also because they could be stolen. This includes drugs for children and pets. Instead, have a medicine bag that you can pack them all in and keep in one place until the house sells.


Cleaning Supplies


This is all part of staging your home to make it look as clean and clutter-free as possible. Cleaning is also not everyone's favourite part of owning a place, so anything that reminds the buyer of that should be avoided as it can be distracting.


While a broom shouldn't be left in the corner of the kitchen, most homes have certain spaces to keep such items such as closets, garages, or even a shed, so long as it's not cluttered. This is also a great way to give potential buyers a good idea of where cleaning supplies can be stored. 


Religious or Political Decor


Any kind of religious or political décor, which includes photos with political figures, or décor showing support for a particular party, should be avoided. The last thing you want to do is to turn off a buyer because of a difference in political opinion.


The same idea goes for religion, although this can get a bit tricky when it comes around to holiday time. Decorating a bit during the holidays, such as Christmas, can actually give the buyer an inside look at what the home would look like during that time of the year; just remember to keep it secular and minimal. 

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Experts have drawn parallels between the high inflation of the 70s and 80s and what’s happening today.


Back in the mid-80s, homeowners dreamt of a day they would see mortgage rates below 10 percent.


We’ve been extremely fortunate over the last few decades to see our interest rates at record lows, however, we are now seeing them climb again and it’s causing some panic for owners and buyers.


Here are a few tips on how to ride out a recession:


Pay Down Debt


One of the most important things you can do during times of high-interest rates is to pay down debt, starting with the debt that holds the highest rate.


While this will take a lot of discipline, it will save you countless dollars in unnecessary interest payments.


There are still plenty of options for consolidating debt with lower interest rates and may be a great option for you if you’ve got debt spread across various credit cards, loans, etc. 


Stay Invested


As tempting as it may be to take money out of your investment accounts, especially as you watch numbers take a dive, we highly advise against this.


We recommend that people remain invested, maintain their asset allocation that was designed in order to achieve their goals and objectives in the timeframes that they have set for themselves and continue to add to their investment portfolio through their retirement account savings.


Dollar-cost averaging is one of the most trusted strategies. It’s investing the same amount of money at regular intervals, regardless of what the market is doing.


By taking advantage of lower valuations you’re effectively buying more shares at a lower price. This is a great opportunity for younger generations to invest at a lower price. 


Save, Save Save


This can be extremely difficult when every trip to the grocery store is costing you more and the price of fuel, along with everything else is going up, but saving is always extremely important.


As interest rates continue to rise, we will being to see interest rates higher in our savings accounts, and newly fixed income securities.


Saving your money in a high-interest savings account during this time, you are going to see growth faster than you would have a few months ago. While it may not keep pace with current inflation, it’s sure to help build a safety net. 


Settle in for the Long Haul


The 1980s was a long decade. There were two recessions and it was years before inflation was under control and interest rates began to drop. And although our current situation is a little different, if there’s anything to be learned from the past, it’s that inflation and higher interest rates will be here for a while yet.


Throughout this time, try to work as hard as you can, make as much money as you can, and be as frugal as you can.


You have to be prudent, you need to pull back and watch your spending. 

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Further to our blog post last week, we are following up with the top ten renovations that actually decrease the value of your home.


Here are the final 5:

Bedroom Conversions

Anytime you remove a bedroom from your home you decrease the value.


Whether it’s permanently converting a bedroom into an office, closet, or combining two bedrooms into one, the loss of one bedroom will cost you.


Adding a bedroom in your can increase the value of your home by $15,000 - $25,000 so you can safely assume that is the approximate amount you’re losing by removing a bedroom. 

Removing Closets

Closets and storage space in general are key motivators for homebuyers.


Using that square footage to expand a nearby bathroom or bedroom seems like an easy decision, especially if you’re not really using that closet, to begin with. However, it comes at a cost to your home’s value.


Similarly to bedrooms and bathrooms, the more closets, the better. Closets and storage space may not get front-line treatment in the listing, but buyers definitely notice when they’re lacking.

Inflexible Rooms

An overly specific room, such as a home gym or theatre, can be seen as a renovation bill to potential buyers.


While some buyers may love this feature, others may not have the same interests and want to convert the room to something more useful to their lifestyle, such as a bedroom or additional storage space.


That said, the value a home theatre brings to your house depends a lot on the size of your home and whether comparable homes in your neighbourhood have them.


But if you’ve used precious square footage in a modest home for one and no other homes in your area have a theatre, the people looking to buy may not be wowed by this and see it as a renovation expense they will need to take on. 

Pool and Hot Tub

We all dream of having a pool and hot tub in our backyard…or do we?


Yes, these are excellent features but they are extremely expensive and time-consuming to upkeep.


Many buyers actually see pools and hot tubs as something they will need to pay for or remove.


If your home is located in an area where these are common, then yes, they may increase the value, but there are no comparables in your area, your chances of this increasing the value of your are actually quite slim. 

Textured Ceilings and Walls

Adding texture to your walls or ceilings is an incredibly personal choice and unfortunately, they are often associated with cheaper housing.


Buyers are definitely not looking to purchase a home where they will need to scrape the texture of the ceiling before moving in, which can be an extremely messy and expensive procedure. 


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When doing home renovations we generally assume that they will increase the value of our home. Whether it be a new kitchen or a lightly touched-up guest bedroom, for the most part, it works in our favour.


However, there are a few renovations that don’t always pay off the way we had hoped, here are the first 5 of 10: 


Wallpaper


Regardless of how trendy the pattern is, the majority of buyers see this as a project.


Most buyers will do a quick calculation of how much it will cost them to have the wallpaper removed and the walls repainted.


Remember, just because it’s trending doesn’t mean it appeals to everyone! 


Built-In Electronics


A “smart home” can feel very modern while offering real benefits in terms of efficiency and control over your environment.


The problem is that potential buyers may not have the same needs as you, and built-in electronics might be wasted on them or might become outdated over time, becoming not just an eyesore, but an eyesore that doesn’t work well.


Potential buyers may see these as future bills because they immediately estimate how much it will cost them to remove and/or upgrade them.


Garage Conversions


Converting your garage to an extra bedroom, additional storage, or even a home gym or theatre room can give you plenty of extra living space and square footage.


When you convert your garage you’re not just gaining more square footage—you’re also losing a valuable aspect of the home that buyers want.


Worse, the buyers may not care as much about the extra room, since they’re coming in fresh. The impact is brutal—it’s estimated a garage conversion can reduce your home’s value by as much as 25%. 


Carpeting


Yes, carpeting is comfy, cozy, and warm and many people do love it!


However, unless carpeting is brand new, it tends to scare off some buyers as it is also known to collect bacteria and dust and can be difficult to clean.


Buyers want to see flooring that is easy to clean, fresh, and preferably stain resistant, especially if you or they have children and pets. 


Overly Personal Design Choices


Of course, you have the best taste in home design!


However, your style may not be the same as your potential buyers and this can negatively impact the value of your home.


Bright colours, textured wallpaper, and funky fixtures make your home unique and show your personality, and it’s natural to want to showcase that in your home.


But if you go to far, it can send buyers running in the other direction as they see these designs as projects that need to be fixed and updated…in other words, costing them extra money. 

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Owning a home is a lifelong dream for many and likely the largest purchase most people will ever make. It’s also an excellent tool for building wealth!


However, like any tool, if it’s misused, it can have negative impacts.


The number one mistake that homebuyers make is moving too often!


Buying and selling too often plays into the bank’s hands, not yours when it comes to finances.


The average mortgage is 25-30 years meaning 300-360 monthly payments until you own your property outright. What many people don't realize is that banks front-load their profits on the loan, known as your mortgage's interest. The payments in your early mortgage years go primarily toward interest, with little money going toward the principal of the loan.


For example, the monthly payment on a 30-year mortgage for $200,000 at an interest rate of 5% would be $1,073.64. On that first payment, $833.33 is towards interest, and just $240.31 goes toward that $200,000 principal balance. The scale slowly tips every month, and the tables eventually turn; your monthly payments will be almost all principal and little interest by the end of your 30-year journey.


That said, the average homeowner only stays in their home for 13 years, at that time the monthly payment would be $613.94 towards interest and $459.70 towards principal. You’ve actually paid the bank more over those 13 years than you have towards your principal.


We understand that people need to move and life changes, however, when searching for your first or next home, we do suggest thinking about the long term. Will you grow your family? Are children heading off to university soon? Will you retire and downsize in a few years? There are plenty of questions you should ask yourself when searching for your next home.


Here are the most common reasons for people to move:

  1. Move closer to family and friends

  2. Need a larger/smaller home

  3. Neighbourhood is changing

  4. Want to move from a starter home to a forever home


The answer to the majority of these questions can usually be figured out before you buy a new home if you take the time to really think about your future and yourself the questions that you need to.


If you’re thinking of buying a home in the near future and would like some guidance, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’d be more than happy to offer our advice and some tips on how to find the right home for you, and for the future! 

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Your basement is much more than a storage room, it offers untapped potential square footage that you can use for extra living space.


Some of the most common basement renovations include in-law suites, media rooms, home gyms, or extra bedrooms. All of these are fantastic ways to utilize the space…if it’s done properly.


Be sure to do it right the first time by avoiding these basement remodeling mistakes:


CREATING A MAZE


A floor plan can give you a rough idea of the layout and what things will look like once they're finished. But proceed with caution. Because when adding the spaces you want in your basement, you don't want to create a choppy or maze-like floor plan that makes the space unusable.


Try to follow the same design tenants as the rest of the home to avoid having a basement with an awkward layout. In an effort to create function, you don't want to build walls and forget about room placement.


FORGET TO ADD ENOUGH LIGHTING


The majority of basements are already lacking in natural light and forgetting to add enough lighting can make it feel like a cave.


One of the most popular types of basement lighting is recessed ceiling can lights because they maximize the lighting without taking up a ton of space. They're great for low ceilings when pendant lights might get in the way.


You can also choose bright lighting that will supplement natural light. Think about layering your lighting by adding table lamps or wall sconces to provide a softer or warmer ambiance.


NOT INSULATING OR SOUNDPROOFING THE SPACE


Imagine having the most amazing family room but being unable to enjoy it because it’s just too cold in the winter months.


The proper insulation not only makes a space more livable but can also help save money on energy bills as it helps regulate the temperature in your home.


Additionally, if you don't want to hear movies or video games blasting in the middle of the night or hear footsteps from upstairs, be sure to include soundproofing when completing your renovation.


Soundproofing will come in extra handy if you if you're going to use any part of the space as an office or bedroom as it can provide a much-needed serene area to get work done or relax.


If renovating your basement is on your to-do list be sure to take these tips into consideration and if you have any questions, please reach out to us. 

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The June Consumer Price Index (CPI) from Statistics Canada showed the highest annual growth since 1983.


While it was less than expected it is accelerating and is way above target.


Canada’s CPI ripped higher, largely due to the price of gasoline. Annual growth came in at 8.1% in June, the largest annual growth since January 1983. Despite markets expecting higher inflation and this being a “relief,” it was 0.4 points higher than May. Price growth isn’t just high but still accelerating.


Global prices for commodities and oil means inflation is near the peak. Economists are expecting the CPI’s growth to peak soon, however, the annual rate of growth is still 4x the target rate, eroding purchasing power at a very fast rate.


Economist are also suggesting that we may see the Bank of Canada’s overnight rate hike to 3.25% by October and for that to push the economy into a moderate contraction next year.


The first sign of inflation problems resolving will be CPI’s annual growth peaking. Then CPI needs to fall back to the target rate, without triggering a recession… then it needs to stabilize in the target range. Canada isn’t even at the point where it’s no longer rising, so the challenge isn’t close to over. It’s arguable the Bank of Canada has hardly started to tackle the problem.

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Thinking of using rocks instead of mulch in your garden? This technique is amongst the most effective ways to control weeds and improve drainage, and its natural aesthetic will accentuate almost all spaces instantly.


Here's what the experts want you to know before bringing this organic material into your exteriors:

AESTHETIC ALTERNATIVE

In a garden, garden rock creates a sharp, clean look. It contrasts nicely with the rich textures of the plants, unlike mulch.


Each variety type of stone has different benefits that can improve your yard and garden – whether you choose pebbles or crushed gravel.


Crushed gravel is a popular choice for paths because it has a natural feel. It can also be used to create a natural border across walks and garden beds. 

DURABLE SOLUTION

While mulch will degrade over time, rocks will stand the test of time. With a little elbow grease and a good scrub to remove built-up dirt or moss, they will look as good as new a lifetime later!


Not only do they look great but they can also withstand the seasons; rain, wind, storms, and dry hot summers are no challenge for them. 

WEED CONTROL AND DRAINAGE

In many instances, using rocks instead of mulch can promote better drainage in your garden and control weeds.


Mulch retains excess water, resulting in unattractive puddles that can lead to root disease and plant death. While in the summer months, the liquid evaporates quickly, producing too dry conditions, whereas rocks are hardly affected by these weather changes.


Rocks can helps drainage by preventing extra water from being absorbed by the ground beneath it, while also providing shade on hotter days to keep the soil moist.


Whatever your reasons for using rocks instead of mulch, this alternative has benefits that will work in every garden – and we expect it will stay in style for many more seasons to come.

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When listing your home, keep in mind that there are certain features home buyers perceive add more value to a house than others.

As always, location seems to be at the top of the list for what buyers perceive to be the most valuable aspect of any property, however that can’t be changed, so let’s focus on what can!

In the past, we’ve learned that replacing yard maintenance, fresh paint, and various other updates are proven ways to increase your home’s listing price, but it could also be well worth it to make renovations that buyers regard as value-boosting to enrich the sale.

Here are the top 4 renovations with the biggest perceived ROI:

Kitchen Reno

Whether it’s new appliances, flooring, cabinetry, or a full renovation, the kitchen will provide the highest ROI in the home.

A modern, spacious kitchen with ample cupboard space and long-lasting countertops and appliances is attractive to all buyers.

If your kitchen needs an update and you have the time and money to invest before selling, this is highly recommended, you could turn your investment into a $25,000+ profit. 

Open It Up

Open floor plans are the most popular layouts for buyers.

Taking down a wall to open up space between the kitchen, living room and dining room could increase the value of your home up to $10,000.

Be sure to have a professional do this work and apply for any permits required, in advance.

You may need to update flooring and painting once the wall has been removed, but these added costs will definitely pay off when it comes to sell! 

Enclosed Garage

Adding an enclosed garage not only keeps your vehicle safe but also adds additional storage space and bonus square footage to the home.

Increased storage space is a bonus for any home and is something buyers will appreciate and be on the lookout for. 

Resurface the Roof

Replacing a roof seems intimidating, but new shingles can affect the overall quality (and longevity) of your house.

You’ll definitely want to call in the pros for this job; a leaky or damaged roof can cause unimaginable damage and stress to any homeowner.

Additionally, a resurfaced roof will be much more aesthetically pleasing to buyers and tie in with your curb appeal. Remember, your home only gets one chance to make a first impression! 



If you’re thinking about selling your home and want to ensure you get the highest price possible, contact us to come take a look and we’ll give you some ideas on what can be done to increase the value.

While these are larger renovation projects, there are plenty of smaller and more affordable ones that can be done and we’d be more than happy to offer you some tips. 

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Selling your home can seem like an endless list of things to repair, replace, and clean, but you’d be surprised at what Buyers are willing to overlook when searching for their next home.


Cleaning, staging, and landscaping are top of the ‘must-do’ list when but there are a few things you can get away with that may even be more beneficial to the buyers if they aren’t completed.


And the best part is that you won’t feel like you’re trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the buyers.


Here are our top 4 things that you don’t need to fix when selling your home:

Cosmetic Flaws

The majority of Buyers expect to see some normal wear and tear in a home; the odd scuff or scratch mark on a wall or floor is not as big of a deal as you may think.


If you’re handy and have the time to fix these small flaws, then by all means, but, we don’t recommend spending a fortune to have them repaired, especially if they are outdated, as the Buyer will likely want to replace them altogether. 


Minor Electrical Issues

While this sounds extremely serious, we’re referring to things such as light fixtures that lead to nowhere or sockets that wiggle a little.


If you have exposed wires or something more serious, then it definitely needs to be fixed prior to listing your home, and for your own safety! 


Partial Room Upgrades

If you have a room or two that is fairly outdated and needs some minor repairs (leaky faucet, cracked countertop, scuffed flooring), you want to leave this as is, chances are the Buyer will want to renovate the entire room.


It could be a waste of your time and money to replace a faucet or countertop while leaving outdated flooring and cabinetry.


Remember, a partial remodel rarely looks good and many will view it thinking it requires a full remodel so it’s best to leave this to your Buyers to renovate as they wish. 


Old Appliances

Rather than removing old appliances and leaving empty spaces, you will need to replace them.


However, you don’t need to replace them with top-of-the-line new appliances. You can replace them with used appliances that are in good working and cosmetic conditions.


Most buyers would prefer to see clean, working appliances than none at all. 


If you’re thinking about selling your home and worried that you’ll have a long to-do list of projects to get it ready for market, don’t panic just yet, there are plenty of ways to maintain or increase the value of your home that won’t cost a fortune.


Contact us to come take a look and give you a few ideas on how you can ready your home for market in the fastest, most affordable way possible.

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Buying a home is the largest purchase many of us will make in our lifetime and it’s extremely important to make sure you’re making the right choice.

With so many different factors that come into play, such as location, size, age, etc., it can be extremely difficult to keep track of everything and know which home is best for you.

To help you choose the right home, we’ve put together a list of questions and why you should ask them.

How Old are the Appliances, Roof and other Significant Systems?

While things may look pretty on the outside, it’s crucial to consider the age of the house's essential systems, this could save you thousands of dollars!

The top five things to look for are roof, heating & cooling systems, solar panels, water heater and major appliances. 

Safety Hazards

Be sure to ask if there are or have been any issues in the past with mould, water damage, and the like.

These problems can be very expensive to repair and extremely harmful to the health and safety of your family.

Ask your agent to request documentation of past issues and repairs and be sure to keep these on file if you should this home, you may need them in the future. 

Why is the Owner Selling?

Learning why the owner is selling can help you discover how motivated they are and give you the opportunity to negotiate a better deal.

Also, be sure to ask about the owners preferred closing and possession dates and include these in your offer, this can make your offer much more attractive to them. 

How long has it been on the Market?

As we know, homes are sitting on the market for too long these days, but you may come across a few that have been listed for quite some time and these homes provide a great opportunity for negotiations.

The longer the home is on the market, the more motivated a seller often becomes, meaning they may be willing to negotiate on price, closing dates, inclusions, and more.

Major Renovations or Additions

Determine if the owner has made any big repairs or renovations while living in the home. These updates include any upgrades to the home’s appliances or systems.

Use the repair history to assess the house’s condition and gain a better understanding of the asking price (both of which can help during negotiations).

Inclusions and Exclusions

Typically fixtures, like cabinets, blinds, and faucets, all come with the house. But there are items that homebuyers often assume are included, like the washer, dryer, and refrigerator, that actually aren’t.

Be sure to ask ahead of time so you’re clear on what is and isn’t included in the sale price.

Neighbourhood

Explore the neighbourhood before making an offer, we can’t stress this one enough!

Test the commute from home to your workplace, speak with the neighbours, and check out the local parks and amenities and nearby schools if you have children.

You may even want to review the Official Community Plan to see what plans may be in the pipeline for the area.

Remember, when buying a home, you’re also buying the neighbourhood and the lifestyle it offers. 


Buying a home can be an extremely stressful process but having the right agent on your side can make all the difference.


Be sure to find an agent you trust who understands your wants and needs in your next home.


At JP Real Estate, we don’t simply want to be of service to you, we want to be of value and ensure you’re making the best decision for you, your family, and your future! 

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Renovating your home is an enormous undertaking, no matter how lavish or understated your vision. It takes plenty of time and money to bring your dreams to life when it comes to home remodelling.


If you’re planning to do some renovations to your home to improve its value or livability, be sure to avoid these common mistakes:

Choosing the Cheapest Contractor

Some things are too good to be true and the cheapest contractor's prices may be a reflection of their experience.


Be sure to get at least 3 estimates from various reputable, licensed, and insured contractors. Each estimate should include the project details, insurance, general contractor fees, and warranty info on the work. If the estimate isn’t thorough, it could be a sign that the contractor is inexperienced or merely guessing, hence not qualified to complete the work.


Prior to meeting your contactors, create a list of questions that you’ll ask each contactor, think of it as an interview. Be sure to ask if they are licensed, bonded, insured, and if they have previous experience with the type of work you require.


If you’re still unsure, ask to see some examples of previous work and contact any references they can provide.

Budget

Home renovations can be costly, and more often than not, something unexpected comes up that will likely cost you more than you had planned on spending.


For this reason, it’s always best to budget appropriately and leave room for error and additional costs. 

Measure and Measure Again

We’ve all heard the old saying, “measure twice, cut once” and this rings especially true when it comes to home renovations.


Supplies, materials and trades are expensive, and the time it takes for delivery and installation can be considerable. Therefore, it is important to always double- and triple-check your work before doing anything permanent.

Cheap Supplies

It may seem as though you’re getting a great deal, but cheap supplies updates and replacements sooner than expected.


It’s recommended not to skimp on supplies or materials but instead cut out things that won’t greatly impact the overall design.


For example, if you’re renovating your kitchen, it's best not to buy the cheapest cabinets, but instead, save costs on hardware and backsplashes which can be easily and affordably replaced. 

Too Trendy

While trends are significant, they are also fleeting, what’s in today is out tomorrow.


When making home renovations, steer clear of anything that is too trendy and try to focus on classic trends such as neutral colours, open spaces, and easy-to-maintain additions.


You may, however, not want to go as far as open spaces between bedrooms and bathrooms. While it looks nice, the lack of privacy isn’t for everyone. 

Too Much DIY

Do-It-Yourself projects have skyrocketed in recent years, especially with the trend of home renovation shows taking over the TV networks.


However, it is important to remember that while the DIY route might be fine for small aesthetic projects, when it comes to the structural integrity of your home, hiring a qualified professional can save you plenty of headaches and money in the long run.

Building Permits

Before making any structural changes to your home, be sure to check with your city or town to find out if your project requires any building permits.


Skipping this step could cost you thousands of dollars, especially if you violate a bylaw and need to remove the entire structure or addition.


It’s always best to be on the safe side and make the call or visit to your local municipality office to enquire prior to beginning any work. 


As you navigate the home renovation process, keep these tips in mind.


By hiring a qualified professional, setting a realistic budget, and using quality supplies, your home remodel can increase the value of your home drastically!


If you’d like to chat about which home renovations will add the most value to your home, contact us at jprealestateservices.com. We’d love to be of value to you! 


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When thinking of downsizing, many associate it with empty nesters and retirees, but smaller homes are quite popular with all age groups and lifestyles.


Whether you are looking to free up extra capital, lower monthly expenses, or reduce the amount of space in the home to fit your current needs, it’s important to remember that this is not a one size fits all project, and there are many downsizing solutions for everyone.


Here are a few ways that you can downsize your home:

SMALLER HOME

Smaller homes aren’t just for singles or first-time buyers anymore!


With many new technologies, it’s much easier to share a small space with others than it used to be. Multi-function rooms are much easier to create and with the right storage in place, they can make for great space-saving.


When planning to move into a smaller home, it’s important to have a clear understanding of your family's needs so you’re not sacrificing things that are crucial to your day-to-day life and that it can meet your lifestyle demands.


Think Murphy Beds or raised beds with desk space underneath or multifunctional rooms such as spare bed/office/workout/reading room. The more you can do in one room, the fewer rooms and space you’ll need. 


REDUCE COST OF LIVING

One of the reasons people are looking to downsize today is to cut down on the cost of housing.


Selling your home to move into a smaller or less expensive house means putting more into your down payment and lowering your monthly mortgage payments.


Depending on how far into your mortgage you are, and the cost of the home you choose to relocate to, you may even be able to pay in cash and rid yourself of a mortgage payment altogether.


RETIREMENT COMMUNITY

For those aged 50+, the option of a retirement community is another great way to downsize.


Not only will you have a smaller home, but you may also have access to things you didn’t have before, such as; a swimming pool, games rooms, entertainment, golf, and much more! 


CONDOMINIUM OR TOWNHOME

If you’re dreaming of a low-maintenance lifestyle, condos and townhomes are a great option.


These homes often offer a taste of luxury that single-family homes do not with amenities like swimming pools, saunas, theatres, gyms, security, and no yard work which give ‘home-time’ a whole new meaning.


Condos and Townhomes are also great for snowbirds or anyone who spends a lot of time travelling as your yard work is taken care of and security services are always on the lookout for any unwanted visitors. 


Whatever your reason for downsizing, there are plenty of options and excellent opportunities awaiting you. 



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Buying a home comes with more expenses than you may realize, especially if you’re a first-time buyer.


There are many costs to take into consideration that you may not have previously experienced, especially if you were renting.


When searching for your new home, keep in mind that there are more costs to factor in than just the monthly mortgage payment, such as:

Property Taxes

The amount you pay for property taxes depends on the city-assessed value of your home.


Example: A typical 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom home sells for approximately 1.25M (or more) within the City of Victoria. As the assessed value is typically is much lower than the selling price, we will use $1,000,000 as the assessed value. At $1M assessed home will push you to a 0.509% property tax rate equally an annual property tax payment of $6,372.


Keep in mind this amount can change annually based on your assessed value and the rate at which property taxes are applied.


Home Insurance

This number will vary greatly depending on how much you own, your insurance claims history, and the policy you’ve chosen, but on average, you can expect to pay 100-$150 per month. 



Water, sewage and garbage/recycling

If you were previously renting, these costs may come as a surprise for you!


Water charges are based on usage and this amount may vary each month. Water rates within the City of Victoria are charged at $4.52 per unit with 1 unit being 623 gallons of water.


Garbage and recycling charges are based on the size of bins you are using. Most homes opt for an 80-litre bin which is charged at $66.82 every 4 months.


For the average home, sewage rates are approximately $560 per year, this is based on a rate of 188.8 cents per cubic metre of sewage. 


Hydro

Your Hydro bill will depend on usage with the average monthly bill in BC costing anywhere from $120 - $290 per month.


Rates are charged as follows:


Residential: $0.0884 per kWh for the first 1,350 kWh in an average two-month billing cycle, and $0.1326 per kWh for any additional consumption


Gas

Not all homes will have gas, however, if your new home does, you can expect a gas bill ranging anywhere from $100-150 per month.


Gas may be a better option for heating your home than Hydro as it's often more affordable, it heats faster and uses less energy. 


Repairs and Maintenance

This involves everything from having your ducts cleaned to the furnace serviced to cleaning the gutters and downspouts.


While this may not be applicable every year, you may also run into much larger costs with things such as roof replacements that cost upwards of $10,000 or upgrading appliances and small renovations.


Experts suggest you budget 1-3% of the value of your home every year to deal with repairs and maintenance.



While taking on the responsibility of owning a home can be overwhelming the benefits will pay off as you build equity and upgrade your home increasing its value over time! 


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Selling your home can be many things, emotional, stressful, exciting, frustrating, and often confusing.


Having a trusted agent on your side to go over every detail with you and explain things clearly while offering advice and helpful tips will make all the difference in the world.


While agents are required to be completely transparent with their clients about the transaction, there may be a few things that slip their minds when offering you assistance through the process.


Here are a few things that many people don’t know when they are selling their home and should be aware of: 


Why is there so much stuff?


You’ll be surprised by the amount of stuff you have! Whether you’re a minimalist or not, the amount of belongings you’ve collected over the years always surprises home sellers.


When preparing to market your home for sale, this is the perfect time to start cleaning out unwanted items. Think of it as pre-packing, you can donate, throw out or give away many items that you no longer need and this will relieve some of the burdens when moving day arrives.


Stager recommendations can be hurtful


Your home may be beautifully decorated and look perfect to you, but when the stager arrives, they will walk through your house, room by room, and tell you what needs to be done to improve the saleability of your house.


This can often be very hurtful, especially if you’ve put a lot of time and effort into your personal decor. Try to remember that this is not a personal attack.


Professional stagers know what Buyers want to see and what catches their attention, online and in-person - trust the people you’ve hired. This will contribute to a faster sale, a higher price, or both.


Showings


Showings can be extremely stressful as many are last minute if you haven’t provided a showing schedule. Agents and/or their clients may be late which cuts into your plans and they may even be a little disrespectful in ways such as not taking off their shoes or saying unkind things about your home or decor.


Additionally, you’ll be left wondering after each showing if they liked your home, or if they will be putting in an offer. Have your agent ask for feedback from each showing and if your home isn’t selling quickly, this is a great way to understand what needs to be changed or improved to get it sold.


Insurance


As with life, things don’t always go as planned and sometimes the deal may not close on the scheduled closing date. In this case, you’ll want to ensure that your insurance will cover your home if anything were to happen.


Be sure to call your insurer and have your insurance extended until the sale is final and keys are handed over to the new owners.


Cancelled showings rarely get rebooked


Buyers are rarely concerned with what’s convenient for Sellers. They want to see your home at a time that works for them and if you don’t accept or cancel the booking, the changes of the rebooking drop by 50%.


Leave your home during showings


Yes, leaving your home every time there’s a showing can be very inconvenient but it definitely pays off!


Buyers want to comfortably look through your home and comment freely without feeling as though they may upset the Seller or harm their chances of securing the home. 



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One of the biggest mistakes you can make with your credit cards is to pay only the monthly minimum and a shocking 1 in 5 Canadians is doing just this. 


The minimum payment due on a credit card is the absolute lowest amount that your provider is willing to accept each month. 


Why is this bad? 


By paying only the minimum, you continue to carry a balance that triggers your card's APR and the longer you carry the balance, the more interest you'll be paying. 


Example: If you charge 6,000 to a credit card with a 20% APR and your credit card provider gives you a $120 minimum, by paying just the minimum it would take you 106 months to pay off the full $6,000.


The interest accrued in those 106 months would be $6,603 meaning you'd be paying $12,603 for a $6,000 charge. 


What to do if you can't afford more than the monthly minimum payment?



1. Cutting Costs


The first thing you should do is take an in-depth look at your financial situation and see where you can cut some costs to ensure that you're making more than the minimum monthly payment. 


Here are a few suggestions: 


- Cancel magazine or newspaper subscriptions

- Cut the cable and look into streaming services such as Netflix, Prime, Apple TV, etc. 

- Memberships you rarely use such as gym, Costco, etc. 

- Review your cell phone bill and look into more affordable providers

- Make your morning coffee at home rather than a daily trip to Tim's or Starbucks

- Take a lunch with you to work rather than eating out


While each of these ideas may only cut a few dollars each month, combined they will make for a substantially larger payment on your credit card debt. 


2. Balance Transfer Credit Cards


A balance-transfer credit card is a low-interest card designed to receive debt from a card with a high APR. The low interest is usually a promotion, which lasts anywhere from a few months to a year or longer.



The trick is to pay a majority of your credit card debt (or all of it) before the promotional APR period ends.


If you have multiple credit cards, you can try the debt roll-down method. With this strategy, you list your debts from highest to lowest interest rate, pay the minimum on all your debts, then make extra payments toward the debt with the highest rate. Once you pay off the debt with the highest rate, you “roll down” your extra payments to the debt with the second-highest rate. Continue with this method you'll save an exorbitant amount in interest.

 

3. Pay Cash When Possible 


Paying in cash will allow you to keep a tighter budget and you'll be much more aware of how much you're spending and on what. It's also a great way to avoid impulse purchases. 


If you have any questions about improving your credit score or how it can affect your ability to purchase a home, contact us at jprealestateservices.com. 





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Updating your home doesn't have to come at a huge expense and it can pay off in a big way! 


Below are the top 15 affordable home upgrades that will make the largest impact on the look and value of your home: 


1. Removable wallpaper that makes a statement - think bold, bright, and even textured.      So long as it comes off easily, it can appeal to the right buyers and for those that dislike it, they know it's an easy fix! 


2. Rain Shower Head - You don't need to upgrade your whole bathroom to give it that spa feel. These showerheads can be found for under $50 and are very easy to install. 


3. Real and faux Succulents throughout your home in blank spaces will give it a comfortable and homey feeling that many are looking for. 


4. Mirrors! Mirrors make all spaces look larger. If you have a room that feels a little crowded, find a central focal point to hang a mirror and see how much larger the room feels. 


5. Eucalyptus Spa - Hang it from your shower head and soon you’ll experience aromatherapy. The steam from the shower will activate the plant’s oils, allowing you to breathe them in and feel refreshed. 


6. Artsy lampshades will spruce up any room, with or without the light on as they add an extra pop of colour or texture. 


7. LED lights strips will brighten up any space with a light glow that will add to the ambiance of the space. They are great for stairs, behind mirrors, kitchen cabinets, under shelves, or inside closets.

 

8. Peel and Stick Tiles to spruce up your kitchen are a great way to give an appearance of an updated backsplash, fireplace backing, accent wall or even accessories such as mirrors or frames. 


9. Door hardware, while this may not seem like the most luxurious item, it will make your home look updated and well cared for. 


10. Updated dishtowels, clothes, and hand towels. These don't come at a large expense but will clean up any room in which they are placed and give the room a bright and crisp look! 


11. Kitchen hardware - by replacing the hardware on your cupboards and drawers, you will give the space a sleek modern look. 


12. Warm LED Lightbulbs are great for bedrooms and living rooms where you want to enhance a cozier vibe than the bright lights needed in the kitchen or bathroom. 


13. New outlet covers - A fresh white new outlet cover will make any room pop! If you really want to make a statement, try the outlet covers with built-in, motion-activated lights which are great for dark rooms and hallways. 


14. Woven Baskets are a great place to store blankets and extra pillows. Not only do they look stylish but they are extremely practical too. 


15. Updated pillow covers can add visual interest to any room. This year's trend is bright and colourful with patterns or textures. 


If you're thinking of updating your home and don't have a large budget, these tips should give your home the lift you're hoping for and will also increase the value to potential buyers. 




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MLS® property information is provided under copyright© by the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board and Victoria Real Estate Board. The information is from sources deemed reliable, but should not be relied upon without independent verification.