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Purchasing a New Home
Posted on Wed, 30 Aug 2017, 09:15:00 AM  in Home buying tips
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Canada is a country representing a wide variety of properties for sale. Home buyers may choose from a remote cabin in what closely resembles a wilderness area, or they may prefer a condo or townhouse located in the downtown area of a modern city. Their lifestyle and position in life will likely be the deciding factor when Canadians decide to purchase a home.

 

Retirees may search for a home where they are able to appreciate the beauty of nature if they aspire to an active and healthy lifestyle. Seniors who do not enjoy great health may prefer to live near a hospital or medical facility in case they experience a catastrophic health event. Younger people who have children also prefer to live further away from the city, but usually choose to be close enough that their commute to work is not too long. Residential communities located on the outskirts of larger metropolis areas are popular neighborhoods with children of school age. Singles and young couples in the millennial age group typically prefer to rent near thenew home city center, and many prefer to purchase a condo as an investment.

 

Canada's economy is relatively stable, and Toronto is one of the fastest growing cities in the country. The diverse metropolis is the capital of Ontario and is located on the shore of Lake Ontario. Toronto offers many employment and educational opportunities as well as a wide variety of outdoor activities. The number of new constructions and home improvement projects is a testament to Toronto's healthy economy. The Greater Toronto Area is a popular residential location due to the availability of transportation into the city center where most people are employed.

 

People who live in Canada are well aware of the frigid winter temperatures, but they have obviously come to appreciate the advantages of living there so much that the weather is tolerable. The far northern areas of the country are less occupied which is likely due to the much colder winters there. The most populated regions of Canada are situated in the southern half of the country.

 

When it comes to the Canadian climate, Victoria, British Columbia is the warmest. The city is located on Vancouver Island about 100 km south of the city of Vancouver. Victoria is British Columbia's capital city, and boasts amazing mountain and ocean views in nearly every direction. The peaceful atmosphere of the city is popular with retirees, although families and students are drawn to the wide range of outdoor activities that include biking, water sports, golf and zip lining.

 

Anyone planning to purchase a new home in Canada will be wise to contact a reputable REALTORŽ in their desired location. A real estate agent will be able to search for the type of property that meets their needs and wishes. While it may be quite possible to successfully purchase a private listing, a professional will guide them through the process with less risk of purchasing a home with problems. In addition, a REALTORŽ has access to homes that are just coming on the market or homes that are foreclosed and bank owned.


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Guideline for Canadians Looking to Buy or Sell a Home
Posted on Fri, 31 Mar 2017, 03:40:00 PM  in My services
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As stressful as it might be, buying or selling a home is probably the most important undertaking you will ever be involved in. The procedure for selecting a house involves both finance and lifestyle considerations; one needs to choose wisely to avoid regrets in the future. In the Canadian market, one needs to secure a good deal and at the right time. By the basic law of supply and demand, one should buy at a time when many people are not looking for houses. You also need to be aware of the details during contract negotiation, have knowledge on what qualities to look out for, and still keep the mortgage interest as low as possible. Selling on the hand should be done at a suitable time to ensure that you make enough money to secure yourself another home.Guideline for Canadians Looking to Buy or Sell a Home

There are myriad reasons that may drive you to sell your home. If you find your home’s location unsuitable, then that may be a reason enough to sell it. Location may be unsuitable in relation to work, or if you are retiring and therefore require to move to a place with a low maintenance cost. The size of a house may also drive one to sell. If your family is growing and you cannot get a permit to expand it to add more bedrooms, then perhaps it is the right time to sell. On the other hand, if your kids have all moved to college, it is always a good time to downsize before any of them decides to move back. You may decide to sell for unfortunate reasons, say divorce or at worst death of a family member. This may be crucial in helping you leave bad memories. Financial reasons are a key factor to selling. If you cannot sustain the cost of a house or you need money to pay for something else, relocating is always an option. For a change in lifestyle, especially among young and rich, many people move to more classy homes in reputable cities.

Buying a home should always be done with utmost keenness. One needs to ensure that the previous owner had properly maintained the house. This helps to reduce repair costs when you later discover damages in the house. One needs to check every area of the home from ensuring that roofing is in good condition and has a long lifetime to checking whether the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working. For the windows, they should be well sealed and double paned, and the foundation should have no cracks, especially on the outer side. Plumbing and wiring is another important area. One should ensure that knob and tube wiring is not made of aluminum because it is expensive to replace, and that the plumbing is not leaking and the water is adequate. The areas around bathtubs or showers should have no signs of water damage or mold, and all appliances such as fridges should be in good working condition.

Before purchasing a house, it is always important to find out if it is right for you. You need to evaluate your current and future needs. This is very important in determining the size of the house you will buy. If you are in a young family that is looking to having children soon, you should buy a home that has several rooms. If you are looking to fit in into a group of rich friends, then you will require buying a good house with additional features such as a pool. There are extra things to check such as house maintenance and energy efficiency if you need a mortgage home loan.


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Buying a Home: Tips for Surviving a Bidding War
Posted on Wed, 15 Mar 2017, 03:35:00 PM  in Home buying tips
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Buying a home can feel like a roller coaster ride filled with emotional highs and lows. One of the lows that buyers dread the most is finally finding the perfect dream home only to get caught up in a nasty bidding war. Your heart tells you to do everything you can to get the house while your head tells you that you need to stay within budget. The following tips will help you put your best foot forward and improve your chances of getting your offer accepted.

 Buying a Home: Tips for Surviving a Bidding War

Have Financing in Place:

You may be up against all-cash offers, so ensuring that you have a lender's preapproval in hand will strengthen your position by allowing you to remove the financing contingency from your offer.

 

Make a Competitive Offer:

You should avoid the temptation to make a lowball offer. You run the risk of insulting the sellers to the point that they refuse to even counteroffer. An experienced REALTORŽ can help you prepare a thoughtful offer based on market analysis, their experience with the local market, as well as information they can learn from the listing agent regarding the seller's motivations.

 

Adjust to the Seller's Schedule:

Closing dates are typically negotiated for a time that is convenient for both sides. Agreeing to close at the seller's convenience may give you a leg up over the competition. If the sellers need a little extra time to arrange their move, you can even agree to rent the property back to them after closing.

 

Remove Sales Contingencies:

Offers that are contingent upon inspections or you selling your current home can make a seller nervous. Removing these stipulations can improve your odds of acceptance when there is stiff competition; however, you should consider the consequences of removing the contingencies very carefully. For example, you want to ensure that you have enough funds in reserve to cover two mortgages for a while. You may also opt for an "information only" inspection so that you will at least have an idea if there are potential issues with the home and can plan accordingly.

 

Make it Personal:

Realtors often recommend that buyers in a bidding war submit a personal letter with their offer detailing why they fell in love with the house and what it will mean for their family to live there. This will help the seller connect with you on an emotional level and may help tip the scale in your favor.

 

Know When to Walk Away:

It is important to know your top price before submitting your offer. It is all too easy to overpay for a home when we let our emotions gain control. No matter how perfect a home may appear, it is not worth it if you end up struggling every month to meet your mortgage payment. If you are patient, you will find the right house at the right price.

Finally, you should trust your REALTORŽ. There is a good chance that they have been through more than one bidding war and can help you come up with best possible strategy to get your offer accepted.


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Top 5 Common Pricing Mistakes You Should Avoid
Posted on Thu, 30 Jun 2016, 10:15:00 AM  in Home selling tips,  Marketing strategies
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One of the first things you do before listing your home is decide on its asking price. Whether you make the decision to sell your house on your own, or you turn to a real estate company for assistance, you will need to look at similar houses that recently sold, current market conditions and other factors to decide on the asking price. It's often best to work with an agent because you can get help setting a price that won't turn buyers off. Even with an agent by your side though, you should look at the common pricing mistakes other sellers made to know what to avoid.

Going Too High

pricingSome sellers list their homes for a high price on the belief that buyers will always want to haggle and negotiate the price down. When you go too high though, you risk alienating buyers. Many buyers today have a budget in mind and won't even look at homes that are over that budget. Pricing your home too high may result in those buyers skipping over your house and putting in offers on homes that are in poor condition but cost less.

Putting Your Emotions First

Many sellers form a deep connection to their homes. It's the place where you lived when you first got married, you remember seeing your kids playing in the backyard and you have fond memories of cooking holiday dinners in your kitchen. When you let your emotions take control though, you may put a higher price on your home than it is actually worth. Sellers sometimes have a tendency to put their emotions first and place a value on their homes based on the experiences they had there. Buyers care about condition and features but not your emotional connection.

Using the Wrong Comps

Comps is a term that refers to comparable homes. Your agent should pull listings of homes that sold in recent weeks and homes that sold within the last year. Those lists should focus on homes that are similar in terms of overall size, number of bedrooms, lot size and features. Using the wrong comps can lead to you listing your home for too much or too little. You might look at comps of homes that were newer or larger in size or find comps of homes that are much smaller and required a high level of work.

Going Too Low

When you need to sell your home faster, you might offer a lower price because you think this will entice more buyers. Going too low can actually turn off buyers who would pay more for your property. A low price is sometimes a turn off because it makes buyers wonder what is wrong with the home. They see similar homes priced much higher and assume that your home has condition issues that they can't see. Even buyers looking for a bargain may keep looking because they think your house needs a new roof or foundation.

Using Other Factors

Using other factors to decide on your listing price can also hurt you. This includes basing the price on the amount of work you did or the investments you made in the house or deciding on a price based on the amount you still owe on your mortgage. This often causes sellers to list their homes for more than the market dictates and more than buyers want to spend. Buyers will want to make their own improvements and changes and don't want to pay for those you made. Deciding on a listing price may take some time, but choosing a good price will help your home get sold.


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Beautifying Your Home
Posted on Sun, 15 May 2016, 11:10:00 AM  in My services,  Home selling tips,  Marketing strategies
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Beautifying your homes outside area is one of the surest ways to improve your overall curb appeal. Not only can you customize your property the way you want, but the sheer presence of your renovations can be just what you need to attract buyers when it is time to sell. Performing an outdoor makeover is never easy, and it is recommended for you to hire a landscaper to get started. If it is your first time making the purchase, it is recommended for you to use these following questions when interviewing the professional to learn more about what they can do for you.

Are You Insured?
Begin by asking the professionals if they are bonded and fully insured. This is one of the most important questions to ask because it can give you a good feel for the type of service you will receive. The larger the project, the more crucial it is for you to work with an experienced professional. Ask them about their insurance in order to know that you are protected as well. Landscaping requires the use of heavy machinery and floral expertise, and a lack of knowledge can result in serious liability issues on your property.

How Long Have You Been Working in the Industry?
Get a good feel for how long the expert has been in business. This is important because you want to make sure that your project is in good hands. Ask the experts about their level of experience and determine if it suits the level of involvement your project needs. Smaller plans have more room for error, but if you are planning on a tremendous backyard makeover, speak with an expert who has been working for several years. You do not want to hire a group that is not able to deliver the desired results.

Do You Have a Website?
This is another important question to ask, especially for companies that you learn about by phone or through word-of-mouth. An established website shows that realtorthe company is serious about what they offer. Make sure that they have an office location too, as this shows that they take professional accountability seriously. Be sure to browse through the company website and see what your first impressions are. Take a look at what they offer and what some of their customer testimonials are. Remember that if something does not feel right about the company, you are not required to follow through with your hiring.

Do You Have Industry Experts?
If you have a specific section of the yard that you need taken care of, it is a good idea to consult with an expert first. Speak with a stonework experts if you need to have masonry taken care of, or an arborist if you are planning on expanding your outside designs with trees. There is a specialist for every task, and you want to contact them to make the most of your project. If there are no experts ready to help, ask the available specialists about how experienced they are when it comes to what you need done.

Will You Provide Blueprints and Drawings?
Ask this question if you are interested in a more hands-on approach during the creation process. When you see the blueprints and planned drawings, you are able to have a stronger degree of input on the final outcome. Ask them to keep you informed of the design process and be sure to take a look every now and then to make sure that it is going as desired. Also be sure to ask about any maintenance that you may need to do in the future.

 


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Some Things You Will Want To Accomplish Before Putting Your House Up For Sale
Posted on Sat, 30 Apr 2016, 11:50:00 AM  in Home selling tips,  My services
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Before you make a call to a real estate agent, you might want to make sure that you are taking the time to review the following suggestions. This way, you will not only have an easier time selling the house, but you might just be able to get more money for it. You could use a little extra money, right? 


Get Things Nice And Tidy 
The last thing you want to do is to have people walking through your home while it is a complete mess. However, being clean does not always mean that you are avoiding looking like it is not a mess. Clutter can look very messy and you certainly do not want potential buyers to be distracted by the clutter when they should be looking at your home and imagining how they could fit everything of theirs into the home.

This might mean that you will have to box or bag up a lot of your stuff. And that is okay. You can put some things into a storage unit. Then, you can stage yourfresh home to look as universally inviting as possible. 

Freshen Up With Paint
You do not want potential buyers to come through your home, only to spot dull, dirty, and stained walls. Therefore, you might want to go around your house and add a quick fresh coat of paint to all of the walls. You might also want to consider painting the exterior of your home so that the curb appeal is raised a little. Of course, unless you have tall enough ladders to accomplish that, you might need to consider hiring a professional for the job. 

Give Your Home A Few Updates 
It is important to make sure that you are upgrading as much as you possibly can without having to worry about breaking the bank. Small upgrades, such as replacing the old faucets and doorknobs can really go a long way. Believe it or not, many potential buyers will notice these upgrades it will make a great impression on them. If you want additional advice on the things that you should consider upgrading, you may want to schedule an appointment with a real estate agent. 

He or she will be able to point out some of the simple changes that you can make in order to give your home the best look and feel to it before you attempt to put it up for sale. Just make sure that you are doing everything that you can in order to follow the advice that you are given because that advice should be considered golden. 

Get The Carpets Deep Cleaned 
It is important to make sure that if you have any carpets in your home that they receive a good deep cleaning before a real estate agent brings anyone through there. While there are some carpet cleaners that you can use on your own, you might have a better chance of getting the best results by hiring a professional carpet cleaning company. Sure, it will cost a little bit of money, but the deep cleaning will give your old carpet new life. 

With those few things in mind, you should have a much better idea of the things that you should do before you ever think about officially putting the home on the market. The more you prepare for the selling of your home, the more likely you will be able to get a good amount of money for your home and for everything that you have put into it over the years. You should easily find that it is worth all of the time and effort that you put into getting the home ready to be sold. 

 


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Preparing to Buy Your First Home
Posted on Fri, 15 Apr 2016, 10:45:00 AM  in My services,  Home buying tips,  Marketing strategies
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Owning a home is a dream of many people, but the prospects of actually owning a home can be a little frightening. Purchasing a new home can be an overnight decision, but the preparation that goes into buying that first home will take some time. 


One of the most important aspects of owning a home is applying for a mortgage. Lenders have a set of criteria each applicant must fit before being approved for a mortgage. Income, debt and savings are taken into consideration when applying for a mortgage. It is important to be employed and have a positive employment track record when applying for a mortgage. 

It is also important to not have a large amount of debt. Crunch the numbers first and find out how much of your salary goes to paying down debt such as a car loan or credit cards. It is essential to have a positive debt and bill repayment plan in place. Lenders will use that as an indication of how well you will keep up with mortgage payments. 

A lender will also look at the money you have for a down payment and typically look at least 20% of the purchase price. If you have less than 20% for a down soldpayment a lender may require you to have mortgage insurance. Keep in mind the more you have for a down payment, the lower your mortgage payments will be and the lower interest rate you will pay on that mortgage. 

Lenders will also look at your credit score and may require a certain credit score to qualify for a loan. This is where timely payments for loans, rent, utility bills and other debt come into play. It is important to know your credit score and it is wise to get a copy of that through one of the available credit report services. If your report shows late payments, make sure the credit report is correct and then put yourself on a bill paying plan that includes timely payments.

In addition to mortgage payments, you will be responsible for utilities, maintenance and repairs. Check out the cost of energy to heat a home and get an idea of what a monthly cost might be. Family and friends will be able to help you with that. When thinking about maintenance and repairs, keep in mind there will be yearly maintenance, as well as long term maintenance and repairs. Determine what you can do yourself and what tasks will require hiring a professional. 

When searching for a home, a local real estate agent could be your best friend. Ask friends and family if they have ever dealt with a real estate agent recently and ask if they would recommend them. A good real estate agent will listen to your needs, wants and wishes and help you find a home that meets your criteria, as well as your budget. Drive around the area where you might like to live and look for homes with for sale signs and contact the listed agent. If that home does not fit your needs, the agent will know other homes in the area that will. 

Looking at available homes may include several visits and making an offer. The seller will have a price in mind that they want to get for their home and you will have a price that you will offer. It may take some negotiating so be prepared for the process taking a little bit of time. Always make sure acceptance is contingent on a home and property inspection and you getting a mortgage. If the seller accepts your price and the home and property inspection is positive, you will negotiate a closing date and when you move in.

 


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Pricing a Home: Five Ultimate Tips to Consider
Posted on Wed, 30 Mar 2016, 11:30:00 AM  in My services,  Home buying tips,  Marketing strategies
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One of the hardest things that you may face when selling your home is putting up a price. If you are in a place where the property prices are on the rise, you may be tempted to go for a high price. Realtors warn that this is a wrong move. Appropriately pricing your home right from the onset is critical as it will determine whether the property sells fast and at a good price or otherwise. Overpricing may condemn the house to stagnate in the market which may lead you to make larger discounts thus leading to a lower pricing than originally intended.

Interview a Realtor
Ask around several realtors for a listing agent. Some may suggest a high price for your property to arrest your attention but be aware buyers may not even dollarwant to look into your property while some will not even provide an offer for your home. A qualified realtor gives you a comparative market analysis and explains how you should price your house. He will most likely sell your house at a high price.

Comparative Shopping
Look at the situation from the perspective of the buyer and see how that plays out. Imagine yourself as a customer and see how a house like yours would cost. You will find that most sellers are emotionally tied to their properties, so putting a price objectively on the houses is quite a struggle. Take this move and see how the prices range. It will provide you with an estimate which you can work around.

Reflect on Non-commission Savings
You may want to go it alone when selling your house. Consider the savings you will make since the final price of the property is inclusive of the commission rate. This rate is a certain percentage of the selling price. It is four to six percent of the total price. In a sense, the price is inflated to accommodate this cost. As the seller, price your property at two percent below the market average. 

Try Price-banding
Go out into your neighborhood and make an inventory to find a soft-spot or price band. You must look at all sale prices of houses around you. It is standard practice to bunch up prices. In that, houses sell within certain price ranges. For example, some homes range from between $200,000 - $205,000, while the next set sells from $250, 000 and upwards. Take a chance with the $220,000 price band.

Consider the Inventory
As a seller, it is imperative to understand the laws of supply and demand. You do not want to go into a saturated market and try to sell your house at a sky-high price. Your neighborhood may have over 30 houses selling at one specific time. In such a market, getting the right price for your house may be herculean. Know when to sell. Sell when the supply is low and the demand high. If the demand is high and you are lucky to be in a great neighborhood, your house will fetch a higher price than even what you expected. Cover your entire community and seek advice from an agent.

Getting the selling price right for your property is nightmarish without reliable information on how to go round about it. These pointers should get you covered.

 


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Habits of Effective Home Buyers
Posted on Tue, 15 Mar 2016, 10:00:00 AM  in My services,  spare room,  Home buying tips,  Marketing strategies
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The home buying process is always strenuous and requires a lot of patience. In some cases, buyers run out of patience and give up or decide to settle for a home they don’t really like. There are also instances where after a long hunt, the buyers take it against their agents or the seller trying to cool themselves down. Most of these ugly cases can be avoided as the buyers themselves cause them. If you are a buyer and would like to go through the home buying process without much of a hassle, consider embracing the following habits:


1. Get Pre-Approved For a Loan
Before you begin a home search, find out how much loan you qualify for, and the type of mortgage too. There have been cases of prospective buyers falling in love with a home, and when it comes to approving the loan, they realize they qualify for less. In some states, you can’t submit an offer on a property without attaching a Pre-Qualification Form. Let’s say the dealer has received multiple offers, yours will be put at the bottom if it lacks this important document.

2. State What You Must Have and What You Can’t Have
By telling your real estate agent exactly what you are looking for, you make the search a lot easier. This includes specifying the number of bedrooms, bath homes, or even the neighborhood. This will narrow down the search, and save you time for moving here and there turning down every house that does not suit peopleyour needs.

3. Be Realistic
Set a realistic amount for the purchase. Don’t expect to get a mansion for pennies. Also, depending on the neighborhood, a house in a posh area can go for triple the price of its counterpart in a community surrounded by crimes and natural disasters.

4. Be Flexible
It is crucial to be flexible in the home buying process. If you are not having the house built to your specifications, you are unlikely to encounter a house that perfectly meets your expectations. You may find the perfect home, but you realize the colors or the flooring isn’t quite what pleases you. Know what to do with the things that don’t match your specifications, but don’t walk away hoping to meet the “perfect” house.

5. Be Respectful
When you are viewing potential homes, be respectful and responsible. You may be allowed to look into the closets to see their condition, to turn on the stove, or to flip light switches. Ensure you leave the home exactly as you found it. Don’t bang the doors or leave them wide open. Some sellers may be so much attached to their homes and would wish to leave them in the hands of people who would take care of the home. If you seem irresponsible, they may consider not sealing the deal with you.

6. Have Fun 
Buying a home is a tedious process, but if you choose to have a good time during the process, you will benefit greatly. This again involves your rapport with your agent. Treat your agent with respect and don’t look at him simply as a person you have employed to help you acquire an asset. Some people are hard on their agents such that they can’t have any light moments during the transaction. The agent can go a long way to ensuring you get a great deal as most of them have connections in the real estate market.

Following the above tips strictly makes the home buying process less stressful. To add to the list, choose your team wisely and work with the right people. Be open to your real estate agent to make the house search as easy as ABC.

 


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What to Do with a Spare Room When Selling Your House
Posted on Mon, 29 Feb 2016, 11:20:00 AM  in spare room,  Home selling tips,  My services
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Whether you decide to sell your home because you want to downsize or because you need more space, you might have a spare room in your house. This might be the room that your son or daughter used before moving away to college, your old office from when you worked at home or just a simple room that you use for storage and overflow. Buyers may take one look at the clutter in that room and decide to walk away without putting in an offer. Check out some easy and simple ways in which you can transform that spare room.

Exercise/Fitness Room
The health and fitness industry makes more than $1 billion every year around the world. Turning a spare room into an exercise and fitness room is a great way to appeal to those who want to get in shape. Simply add a few pieces of exercise equipment like a treadmill and weight bench, and paint the walls a bright color like yellow or sky blue. This is the perfect time to get your old equipment out of storage. You can also borrow some key pieces from friends or family or even rent equipment from staging companies.

Spare Bedroom
Young couples often looks for homes that have a guest bedroom because they dream of having family and friends stay overnight with them. If you have a spareoffice room that became a catch all for every room of your house, turn it into a beautiful and functional guestroom. Find a bed that fits the space but won't take over the room. As this is a guestroom, you can use a smaller bed like a full size or double. Add a comforter and matching linen set, some throw pillows and just a few key pieces of furniture like a dresser and a nightstand.

Home Office
As the number of people who work full or part time from home increases, the number of buyers looking for a home that has a dedicated office will also increase. A home office is a place where professionals can work without worrying about the kids running around the house or other distractions getting in their way. You really only need a simple desk and a chair to create a home office, but you might look for some other accent pieces as well. Try adding a few file cabinets, hanging some gorgeous prints on the wall and bringing in items like a computer and printer.

Child's Bedroom
Whether you had children who left the nest, or you haven't yet had children, you can make your home more appealing to buyers who have kids. Turn that spare room into a child's bedroom. A toddler bed or a twin bed with a nightstand, a small dresser and a mirror are all you need. Bring your child's toys and books in from storage, or ask friends to borrow some of their children's belongings. Those items give the room a homey and lived in look.

Home Theater
When you create a home theater room out of a spare bedroom, you appeal to those who love films and having fun at home. While some people spend thousands of dollars or more on televisions and other equipment, you can simply move a few items you already own into that room. Bring in a comfortable couch or futon, set up your television and DVD/Blu-Ray player and hang some movie posters on the walls. Make your home appeal to more buyers than ever before with a spare room that you transform before listing it.


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ZOI OUZAS Sales Representative
RE/MAX Garden City Realty Inc., Brokerage
64 Main Street West, Grimsby ON L3M 1R6
Office: (905)-945-0660 Office: (905)-563-8527
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