Preparing to Sell Your House

If you are considering relocating from your home in Canada, there are a few additions you may want to look into before putting the house on the market. For the kitchen, you may want to find an Ottawa granite countertop company who can install new counters. Another idea would be to look into an Ottawa cabinet company to put in cabinets in the bathroom and kitchen. Before you can start looking for houses, it’s important to make sure your house is marketable.

Kitchen and bathrooms are an important aspect of the house for potential buyers. If the appliances in the kitchen are outdated, you may want to consider replacing them to make it easier for you to sell. Though it can be expensive, stainless steel appliances are very popular and will make a kitchen more modern and appealing. If your kitchen has some sort of wallpaper up, it is a good idea to tear down the wallpaper and paint the walls.

When thinking about redoing your bathroom, it is a good idea to consider replacing the hardware. Little touch ups like a new faucet and new handles on drawers can make the bathroom look more updated. You may want to consider painting the bathroom as well. Finding a nice color combination is important. Something simple like a brown and pink color combination can allow for simple, elegant decorating. Fresh flowers are always a good little touch that will brighten up the room, which will attract the buyers.

Depending on much you are looking to make when selling your house and how quickly you want to move, adding on an addition may be something you want to consider. An addition can be as simple as an extra bedroom, or as complicated as adding a level to a ranch style house. Either way, the added space if done right, will increase the value of the house. Adding a bedroom space is always a safe bet, because then it is attractive to buyers with a large family or can be advertised as an office or work out room.

When preparing to sell the house, keeping the space clean and tidy is necessary. It is also important to make sure that you stay on top of fixing the little problems in the house. Making sure that little problems are fixed quickly is important. Little repairs can be done on your own, but with larger problems you may want to call a professional to get it resolved. If you have a yard, a little bit of landscaping may help sell the house. Though getting the house ready to sell can be somewhat expensive, if all the additions and improvements are done correctly it will pay off in the end. With the housing market being in a rough spot, it will pay off if your house has something that makes it unlike other houses in the area. However, if you go too over the top with additions it may make the house unable to be sold.

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Six Strategies For Living Large in Small Spaces

At a recent gathering of women, I overheard a conversation that is becoming all too familiar in our social circles: the conversation went like this -”we don’t have enough space and “we need to buy a bigger place because we are squished in our home and the kids’ junk just seems to be multiplying”. Truthfully, in Canada we have abundant living space per family compared to other developed countries. The reality is we just aren’t using the space we have uniquely and efficiently. With a commitment to de-clutter and re-organize, even a 1000 square foot condo can feel gracious and spacious. Here’s how!

First, think vertically. Many European designers utilize a floor to ceiling concept in both décor and storage, creating more floor space. For example, use a bookcase to store more than just books. There are many attractive storage boxes on the market that fit most standard shelving which can take your mundane bookcase to efficient and fabulous. Moreover, installing additional shelving in any closet keeps items off the floor and easy to locate creating more ‘room’ we all desire in our closets.

Second, think ‘multi-functional’ next time you are furniture shopping. Need a coffee table? Buy a storage ottoman instead. These ottomans keep magazines, remotes and toys out of sight, while providing a place to put your feet up and have a cup of tea. Also, consider installing a window seat. It is a great place to enjoy a good book, while storing everything and anything out of sight. A child’s room window seat is a home for dress-up clothes, books and toys using an open cubby concept. In a family room, a window seat can be constructed with drawers useful for electronics, games, and even drop-files. Other multi-functional furniture pieces include futons, nesting tables and armoires.

Third, create ‘double-duty areas’ in your home. These are areas that are made for one purpose, but can be used for several things. For example, put the family ‘communication centre’ in the kitchen. Gather the necessary supplies for a homework centre in a lower kitchen cabinet. Create a small home office in the family room so that you can keep one eye on the kids while you work on the computer. If you keep these spaces neat and tidy, they add to your décor concept instead of looking misplaced.

Fourth, ‘give your builder-made closet a makeover’. With a little help from a hardware store, a few baskets and a hanging sweater organizer, you can create three times the useable storage space in standard size closets. Not handy with a drill? Suspend a simple wood rod from your existing closet rack to create double the hanging room.

Fifth, ‘think outside of the closet’! There are many hidden spaces waiting to be used in an efficient way in your home. For instance, the back of a door has many uses; in the bedroom, hang a shoe rack, hooks and even your hamper; in the pantry, hang a chalkboard, lid rack for pots, or a wire rack for spices. Also, evict the monsters and dust-bunnies from underneath your beds and use that space for out of season clothing, a gift-wrapping station, school papers and projects. In addition, use every inch of space in drawers by installing drawer dividers and cupboard inserts readily available even at your local dollar store!

The sixth, last and most important strategy to creating more space….go through your possessions and keep only what you use and what you love. Sell, donate or get rid of everything else. You’ll be amazed at how much space you have after a relentless possession purge! Then, find homes for the remaining items and keep those items “at home” when not in use. Don’t think you’ll be able to do this step alone? Call a friend or a professional organizer to keep you focused and honest!

The result of these strategies? You’ll have a home that is gracious, spacious and free of clutter. And, you’ll save tons of money by not moving into a bigger home!

If you would like to use this article for your website or newsletter, please forward it in its entirety, and include the information below.

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Increase Your Home’s Value with New Cabinetry

Have you been dreaming about installing new cabinets in your kitchen or bathroom, but you just can’t justify the cost? Then consider these home improvement statistics.

RE/MAX, a leading real estate industry force in the U.S. and Canada, estimates that a kitchen remodel project can add up to 150 percent of its cost to a home’s resale value. That means if you spend $20,000 redoing your kitchen, you can expect to get back $30,000 for your efforts should you decide to sell your house down the road. Not too shabby of a way to make $10,000, especially when you get to enjoy your remodeled kitchen in the meantime, is it? A new full bath, similarly, can result in as much as a 130 percent return on your investment.

What makes kitchen and bathroom remodeling so value additive? By far, it’s the fresh and clean appeal of new cabinets. So if a full room remodel is out of the question, start and end with the cabinets. You’ll enjoy the same new appeal to your home while reaping the same increased value benefits.

New kitchen and bathroom cabinets, however, aren’t just about the money. If you’re looking for a quick way to update the look and feel of your home, new cabinetry is also the way to go. The character of older homes can be maintained by choosing kitchen and bathroom cabinets that match the age and flavor of the house. Meanwhile, newer homes that were built on a tight budget with low-grade materials will blossom before your eyes with top-grade wood cabinetry and decorative hardware. You might even consider adding glass panels to your new cabinets to give your kitchen or bathroom an open and inviting air.

The ceiling is the limit when it comes to your kitchen cabinet and bathroom cabinet remodeling projects. But one thing is for certain: You and your future home’s owners will thank you for the new cabinetry enhancements.

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Lighting a Kitchen for Maximum Usefulness and Eye Appeal

Let’s face it; most of the time we spend at home in the United States (and certainly elsewhere) is spent in the kitchen or in the dining area, as some prefer to call it. In earlier times, homes often lacked a living room and the kitchen area served the multipurpose use of a place to take meals and a place to socialize and just plain relax.

In many places, things haven’t changed that much over the years because family traditions are typically hard to change.

An interesting fact is that the kitchen area often gets the least amount of attention when it comes to lighting even though it is one of the most commonly used areas of the house. The right kind of lighting in this room is critical because this gathering place should be inviting and comfortable. This means that the lighting should be both bright and functional as well as designed with eye-appeal in mind.

One of the benefits when selecting lighting for this area is that more is often better than less. Multiple, smaller light fixtures can be used to illuminate the main food preparation area, while some low-voltage fixtures can be used to highlight decorative artwork such as teapots, a set of china or figurines. Low-voltage lighting is perhaps the most under used type of lighting used in this area.

While we are on the subject of low-voltage lighting, let’s go into a little detail about what it actually is. Low-voltage lighting are usually small, round lights that are a few inches in diameter. They are ideal for lighting under and inside cabinets. They can be just the perfect fixture for a sink valance and only your imagination limits their use. Fixtures are readily available in both 10- and 20-watt lights. A 12-volt transformer is necessary for these lights to work as well as another 60-watt transformer.

Control flexibility is a major feature of low-voltage lighting. Small switches can be installed that turn the light(s) on or off every time a cabinet is opened or closed, for example. Dimmer switches are also a common addition to a low-voltage light and will provide just the right level of lighting.

One of the popular trends today is the use of strip lights in the kitchen. These lights are very easy to install since they can simply be clipped under the area to be highlighted. While strip lighting runs off of 120V current, the longevity of the lighting fixture makes it an attractive option. While there is no hard and fast rule, these lights generally last over 30,000 hours and rather than replacing the entire unit, today’s strip lighting lets you simply replace the bulb and you are in business again. Because of their increase in popularity, manufacturers have developed a wide variety of styles and colors from which to choose.

Visit a large hardware store or a home improvement center and you will see for yourself that kitchen lighting has come a long way in terms of what is available to fit any decorating scheme or décor.

While there are a wide variety of kitchen lighting ideas available, the key is not to become overwhelmed. The primary thing to always keep in mind is what your kitchen looks like, including its size and location in your home. Also, how is your kitchen used? Do people spend a great deal of time there even when they’re not eating? What impression do you want to create when friends and family congregate in the kitchen? Start out by looking through the tons of home and garden magazines available today. Don’t be overly impressed by a kitchen that has too much style for the tastes and lifestyle of your family. Look at the details. You may find one idea here and one idea there that fit what you’re looking for. Keep in mind that these magazines usually have a hefty budget and that some of the lighting pictured may be out of your price range. If you are a social creature, take a look at the way kitchens are decorated and the way lighting is used in homes you visit. Ask your friends what, in particular, they like about the way their kitchen looks. People like to talk about their homes.

Depending on your budget, you can always seek professional sources that specialize in home decorating. There are professionals that specialize as consultants in the area of home lighting. A word of caution. There are no professional credentials required to advertise oneself as a lighting consultant. If you just grab someone from the yellow pages or from the services available section of your local newspaper, you may be in for trouble. I’ve heard horror stories where a homeowner selected a consultant that offered their services for a price that seemed very good. The result was too much lighting in the wrong areas and just the right amount of lighting in areas that didn’t really need much, if any lighting. When we add up the consultant’s fee, the cost of the fixtures and new wiring that needed to be added, the bottom-line was a nightmare for the homeowner.

Fortunately, there is a fail-safe way to avoid this kind of problem. The United States and Canada benefit from an organization named ALA (American Lighting Association). Members of this association are required to demonstrate top rate knowledge and experience in the field of lighting. They all share a commitment to recommending quality lighting and the application of just the right lighting configurations for the areas in question. The key word to remember when considering an ALA-member consultant is that they always look for the optimal use of resources and the needs of the homeowner.

Don’t rely on your own abilities and resources or questionable experts when making lighting decisions. The skills, knowledge and ability of an ALA-member lighting consultant is always your best bet.
Here are some final thoughts. It’s a given that you want to select the highest quality lighting fixtures you can afford and it’s equally important that you select just the right styles that fit your kitchen décor and you personal tastes.

I suggest that you avoid discount stores or any stores that offer bargain prices. You get what you pay for and your lighting should be selected at a level of quality that will provide you with years and years of top-flight service and dependability.

Visit an ALA approved showroom and take along photos of your kitchen area to help the experts on staff gain a sense of what your kitchen offers in terms of resources. It’s also a good idea to bring dimensions of your kitchen area including countertops and the overall dimensions of the room. ALA member-consultants can quickly get a feel for what resources you have available as well as what can be done to maximize their usefulness and eye appeal by suggesting just the right kind of lighting.

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Designing Modern Kitchen With Professionals

Everyone knows that managing family and home needs lengthy hours of work. If you want to finish cooking, dishwashing and cleaning quickly then your kitchen should be in a functional condition. So if you are planning for a kitchen renovation for your Calgary home you need to be completely clear and sure about your needs and then list out your routine works in kitchen.

You will get an idea about the trends and styles of the modern kitchen through home interior magazines, visiting sample show kitchens by Calgary kitchen renovation companies, visiting the websites of kitchen renovation companies etc. After having a good idea write down notes about the information and specification you want to have in your design layout. Also, keep some back up designs keeping your prime needs in concern.

You have to conclude whether you are using your new kitchen mostly for baking or cooking, as both need different design layouts. The investment you made in baking oven and the surplus counter space should be well planned out for your cooking range and the space for keeping cookware.

One of the important functional aspects of kitchen is in the variety of hardware options. Today, drawers are replacing the base cabinet as their easy access feature and wide range of organizing configurations are making them the hottest trends. The greatest hardware makers in Canada allow accommodation of almost everything in drawers with dividers and separators between them.

You can go for a Calgary kitchen renovations expert or designer who can help you in designing a custom kitchen layout. Your typical kitchen renovations Calgary designer must understand your needs and value your ideas about your personal cooking space.

The Calgary kitchen renovation companies and home renovation companies are contributing a good percentage in the GDP, Gross Domestic progress, of Canada over the past decade even in the midst of down market scenarios. With forecast of slow rising of the real estate in the coming months compared with that of previous years, the total consumer demand will rise in this perspective view.

After the finalization of your kitchen layout, for hardware selection, you can go for innovative products like scratch and stain resistant sinks. The catalogues of different shades of sinks made of 80% granite supporting many other features are eye catching. You can have any color of the sinks that goes well with your counter top or can have the contrast one. The integration of digital backsplash in the design scene of the entire kitchen with neutral colors gives the flexibility to modify its color scheme by merely changing the digital image on the backsplash. This technology is pouring a spectacular view in designing the modern day kitchens.

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Would I Buy YOUR Home?

I’m a typical potential home buyer, but would I buy YOUR home?

I am like most home buyers and have to connect emotionally….I want to ‘feel’ the “Ahhh, I would love to live here!” So what will help me connect emotionally? What will attract me to YOUR home in particular when there are so many homes on the market?

1. The online ads must pique my interest.

Like over 90% of home buyers in Canada today, I will start my search on the internet…those ads are really my ‘first impression’. If the ads show the house has outdated décor, bold colors, messy rooms, etc, the first thought I have is that your home needs a lot of work….which means more time and money for me. More than likely I will dismiss your home as a possibility and will move on to other homes. Also, if the photos are too small, fuzzy or just overall poor quality, I will move on.

2. I have to get a great ‘first impression’ when I drive up.

I have to like the outside so much that I am dying to see it inside. Peeling paint, tarnished door hardware, garbage buckets, poor landscaping will all tend to make me to drive by without looking any further….unless I’m desperate….and I’m not because there are lots and lots of homes on the market.

3. I have to get a great impression of the inside when I step in the foyer.

If everything is sparkling clean, tidy, and has good sight lines from here, I will be eager to see the rest of the house.

4. I have to get good sensory vibes as soon as I enter.

If I smell bad odors, especially from pets, cigarettes and/or cooking, I will most likely NOT buy your home. This is even a bigger turn-off for me than outdated décor or uncleanliness.

5. I have to see that the home has all the appropriate updates.

I do not want to replace that worn carpet, linoleum floor, outdated countertop/cabinets, lighting fixtures, etc. Like 63% of buyers today, I would gladly pay more for a home that already has those updates.

6. I have to see that the home is in good repair.

If I see a leaky faucet, cracked window pane, squeaky door, etc. I will not be impressed. (I may try a lowball offer because of all of these needed repairs.)

7. I have to feel a sense of spaciousness.

If your closets are overflowing, your kitchen/china cabinets are overly full (and I WILL look), I will immediately think that your house does not have enough storage. Also, if your counter top, table, or any horizontal surface is cluttered I will get the same impression. If you have too much furniture, or furniture placed so that it impedes the natural flow of traffic, I will not get that sense of spaciousness.

8. I have to be able to imagine MY family living in YOUR house.

Your family photographs, diplomas, certificates and personal collections on display will NOT help me to do this. In fact, they can distract me and cause me to fail to see the good features of your home.

9. I have to be able to imagine my furniture/accessories in your house.

I will be disappointed if your walls are blue, red, orange, etc. More than likely I will have to repaint immediately because I either do not like the colors or they will not match my existing furniture.

10. I have to get a ‘homey’ feel.

If your home has been ‘de-cluttered’ too much, or if it is vacant, I cannot feel ‘at home’ in your house. Like 90% of people, I find it difficult to visualize how the room would look with furniture, accessories or different paint colors. This is where home stagers shine…knowing how much to take away or how much to add and what colors to paint to make your home appeal to me, the typical home buyer.

So, in conclusion, to make me buy your house, it has to stand out WAY above the competition, in all the ways mentioned… and in light of all those points, would YOU buy your home if YOU were the buyer?

If you are selling your home, HOMESTYLING BY CATHY can help. We specialize in preparing homes for the market so that they appeal to the broadest range of potential buyers. This ensures they sell quickly and for maximum profit. We will work within your budget and time line to achieve the greatest results possible.

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6 Great Home Improvement Projects For Less Than $1000

Amid the difficult conditions and the volatility of real estate markets, investing on major home improvement projects may not be the right way to go for most homeowners. However, notwithstanding the conditions that prevail in the market, you still need to keep your home at its finest shape and form if you want to gain the upper hand in a market where competition among sellers is fierce. For the ordinary home sellers, they have their work cut out for them. The good thing is that if you are inclined to perform common DIY home improvement task and have minimal amount of funds, there are several tasks that you can perform to significantly add value to your home.

Here is a 6-point home improvement project that is worth under $1000.

1. Replace your old kitchen countertops

Conjure up a new look that will surely blow you away by starting work on a new and modern kitchen countertop. There are a plethora of low-priced but sleek and elegant materials that are available in the market. Your choices shall include terrazzo composites and solid surfacing, cast concrete, stainless steel and other green variants. You can complete the makeover by blending your brand new and contemporary countertops with new hardware for your cupboards, drawers and shelves.

2. Invest on modern bathroom accessories for added safety and comfort

If you are planning of staying in your present home for at least 5 years, then now is the best time for you to consider some serious improvement in one of the most important part of your home – the bathroom. One of your major concerns when doing your bathroom improvement projects are the appropriate changes that contribute to the easy access of members of the household regardless of current abilities and age.

When assessing the current condition of your bath, you must always focus on those aspects that need improvement for added comfort and safety. You may have to consider installing a new entry door with a wider configuration. Other practical changes that you might consider include the installation of easy-to-hold doors and cabinet accessories, grab bars, and shower accessories that come with a modern hand-held shower head.

3. Paint up for a fresh new look

A fresh coat of paint is your best option when it comes to transformative home makeover. Thus, it is easily your best go-to alternative if you are looking for the updating technique that can make a BIG difference.

4. Refurbish the outer zones

Your leisure area during warm weather conditions becomes more enjoyable if you will work on the improvement of outer rooms and make it as one of the focal points of your home. You can invest for an expansion to add a small patio or deck made of brick, cement pavers or natural stone materials. This is one great way of expanding and extending the function of your current living space.

5. Focus on the curb appeal

Your front yard is the first thing that can be seen from street. It is just but logical that you put in your best efforts to provide this part of your home the kind of updating it truly deserves. Assess the welcome quotient of the entry point to your property. One great improvement option is the installation of a door that has the requisite elegant look and balanced with the toughness and reliability so that it can withstand the effects of the exterior environment.

6. Work on your home’s energy efficiency

This is one home improvement aspect which can deliver significant returns in an instant. Those simple home improvement tasks that are geared towards improving the energy efficiency of your home will turn in significant gains in the form of reduced energy consumption. For instance, you can reduce domestic energy loss and raise the level of comfort in your home by simply sealing the ducts of your HVAC system.

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