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.

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 4×4 wood deck post. Most are solar powered.

• Street-style lamps. As the name implies, these look similar to old fashioned 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.

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.

If you have a home that is overdue for a renovation, you might be worried that it will be difficult to sell as a “fixer-upper”. In fact, you might delay listing your property for that reason.

The good news is, you don’t need to fix up everything in your home to prepare it for sale. You can be selective and choose only those projects that are most likely to help your home show well and sell quickly.

Here are some projects to consider:

  • Repairs. Few things stand out more during a viewing than something in obvious need of repair. That includes minor issues, like a dripping bathroom faucet, as well as major concerns, such as the central air conditioning unit not working. Get these repairs done.
  • Painting. Painting is one of the easiest and most affordable DIY projects you can do. Yet the impact it can have on your home is stunning. Some rooms are completely transformed by a fresh coat of paint.
  • Kitchens & Bathrooms. Buyers love to see great looking kitchens and bathrooms. In fact, there are even magazines devoted just to those rooms! You don’t necessarily need to do a major renovation of these spaces, but a makeover can be a good idea. Consider replacing sinks, countertops, and/or cabinet hardware.
  • Floors. If the floors in any of your rooms have become worn and unsightly, look at options for refreshing them. Consider replacing carpeting, refinishing hardwood, and/or getting tiles professionally cleaned and polished.
  • Outdoors. Sometimes you can compensate (a little) for a less-than-ideal interior by sprucing up the outdoor space. Explore ways to improve your deck or patio, walkways, and landscaping.

Even if your home is older, you can make it more attractive to buyers with any one of these projects.

Want more ideas for finding eager buyers for your home? Call today.

As you can probably guess, when you’re preparing to move, you’ll need boxes and tape — and, perhaps some bubble-wrap or old newspapers to use as protective wrapping for delicate items.

But that may not be all you need. Take a look at this list and see if you’ll want any of these on hand while you’re packing or on moving day.

  • Colour markers for labeling boxes. (Tip: Colour coding boxes by room will make unpacking much easier.)
  • Stretch wrap to protect larger items that can’t fit into a box.
  • Small plastic bags to store dis-assembled parts, such as sofa legs, cabinet hardware, etc. (You don’t want to lose them!)
  • Moving blankets to protect floors.
  • A dolly or hand truck to move heavy items. (You can rent these.)
  • Mattress moving bag. This helps prevent stains and tears during your move. You can also buy specialty bags for sofas and tables.
  • Reusable foam furniture sliders, to protect floors when furniture needs to be pushed into place.
  • Foam corner protectors. This prevents furniture with sharp corners from banging and damaging other items during a move.

 

Planning ahead and having the right packing materials on hand will make your move less stressful and, hopefully, damage-free!

 

 

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.