Homeowners often customize their home for personal enjoyment and to appeal to future buyers.  So, we ask, which remodelling projects add the most value?
 Regular and systematic home maintenance provides the best return on investment. Although, there are a few renovations that consistently offer above average return.
 According to the Remodeling 2016 Cost versus Value Report, the following are among the mid-range renovations that homeowners who are looking to sell may wish to consider. To protect your investment, be sure to obtain work permits and consult a professional before embarking on
any project where maximum return on your investment is sought.
1.   Attic fibreglass insulation
Recoup more than 90 per cent of the costs based on immediate energy
savings and your home's future resale value.
2.   Garage door replacement
Maximum impact on curb appeal and increase functionality. Recoup up to 90 per
cent of your investment.
3.   Steel entry door replacement
Quickly improve the curb appeal of your home while reducing heating and cooling
costs. Estimated return on investment is more than 80 per cent.
4.   Manufactured stone veneer
Add curb appeal to the exterior of your home, or to accent specific areas within the
home. Recoup up to 75 per cent of your investment.
5.   Minor kitchen remodel
Based on an investment of $20,000, expect to recoup about 70 per cent.
6.   Wooden Deck addition
Add a deck to increase outdoor living space and recoup up to 66 per cent of your
The more you align the features and attributes of your home with those preferred by consumers, the greater the value you will create.

First Impressions Count... For Buyers and Your Neighbours

The summer months are the perfect time to freshen up the exterior of your home. Whether it's for your pleasure or to impress potential buyers, you'll boost your home's curb appeal with these good old-fashioned cleaning tips:
- Edge the gardens, clean out debris
- Pull the weeds and rake the leaves
- Prune the plants and wooly shrubs
- Plant some urns by the entrance and flowers to the beds
- Tidy the garage of winter trappings
- Dispose of rusty broken garden décor
- Put out a fresh welcome mat and oil the front door
- Paint the windowsills, mailbox, and anything else that is looking tired
- Place clear light bulbs in exterior fixtures, and ensure burned out bulbs are replaced
- Reseal the driveway
- Hide the garbage cans
- Sweep the step
- Fix the saggy gutters
Who says cleaning has to hurt? Get the kids involved! Borrow or buy a power washer and have fun cleaning siding, windows, sills, railings, decking and patio furniture.

Quiz: What Kind of Homeowner Are You?


If you had to put your home on the market tomorrow, how ready would it be for showing? According to Atlas Van Lines, Canadians move every 7 years on average, so whether you're preparing to sell or happily staying put, it's important to keep in mind what you'll need to do when the time comes:

1) After finishing your dinner do you? :

a. Leave everything on the table and return later to clean up. You've got better things to do!

b. Take dishes off the table and put away leftovers. The dishes you piled in the sink can wait until your favourite TV programme is over.

c. Clean the table, put leftovers in the fridge and wash the dishes. You want to be free to enjoy your evening.


2) Your home office has a desk that is:

a. Covered with papers and random objects. You can never seem to find important documents when you need them.

b. Somewhat organized with enough free space to do work. It may look slightly messy, but you know exactly where everything is.

c. Extremely clean and organized. Librarians would admire the efficiency of your filing system.


3) In your household you have:

a. An indoor pet who seems to shed non-stop and a smoker who often smokes indoors.

b. One of the above.

c. None of the above.


4) How do you accessorize your home?

a. With mementos, souvenirs and family photos. You like being surrounded by lots of memories.

b. With eclectic artefacts and antique items. Your style is uniquely you.

c. With few decorative or personal items. Less is definitely more.


5) Which best describes your home?

a. You haven't had the time to decorate or organize. In fact, you're using the guestroom for storage.

b. The main areas are decorated, furnished and organized, but you haven't had the chance to do the same in the basement or guestroom yet.

c. Each room is properly furnished and decorated. You are currently planning your next renovation.


Mostly As

Your home may need a deep cleaning and de-cluttering to prepare it for sale. Pack unnecessary items away, making sure counters and tables are free of appliances and personal items. If pets or smokers reside in your home, have the carpets, draperies and upholstery professionally cleaned to rid the house of undesirable odours.

Mostly Bs

There are a few easy steps you can take to make your home more appealing. Clean your home from top to bottom, paying special attention to kitchens and bathrooms. Organize closets and storage areas. Brighten and lighten your home with a fresh coat of neutral coloured paint and fix any minor repairs that you've been neglecting.

Mostly Cs

Your home is in top shape and will only benefit from a little added flair to bring in that sale. Place fresh flowers on the mantle and set the dining room table for a formal dinner. If it's a cool day, light a fire in the fireplace. Look at your home through the buyers' eyes and create an atmosphere that will help them envision themselves living there.

Before any work begins, I would be happy to help you see your home through the objective eyes of a prospective buyer. Making the right impression is critical. It will help you sell your home more quickly and at a better price. Please contact me and let me put my expertise to work for you.

A Home Away From Home...

Do you have a dream of owning a place outside of the city where you can escape, kick back and relax? If so, you're not alone. As demand continues to increase and average prices continue to rise, now more than ever you will need to be patient, establish a list of 'musts' and work with a Realtor who understands the recreational market, if you want your dreams to come true

To begin your search, target potential areas and consider a road-trip to visit your most coveted spots. Once you find your ideal location, narrow your search by establishing a list of priorities. Do you plan to use your recreational property for seasonal versus year-round use? Do you wish to build a new cottage or buy an existing one? What are your hobbies? Is proximity to hospitals, public transit or schools important? If you are near water, lakes can vary tremendously in terms of allowances for boating, fishing and swimming. In the winter, do you want to use both cross-country and downhill skiing facilities?

With your priorities established, you will also be in a strong position to act fast if you need to. Popular sites are in demand.
Buying a recreational property can be considerably more complex than a standard home purchase and it generally takes longer. There is considerably more time and travel involved. The effort, according to a growing number of Canadians, is more than worth it.
Before you begin your search, give me a call. I can get you started down the right path toward your home away from home. If I cannot assist you directly in your purchase transaction, I can refer you to a quality Royal LePage Realtor in your desired area from our network of over 13,000 real estate professionals from coast to coast.

For the most recent Recreational Property Report, contact us.

Understand your Five expenses

Five expenses that will consume 50 per cent of your lifetime earnings

In these recessionary times, financial tips are flowing fast and furious about how to save money and stick to a budget. Facing a sea of information, many people are asking, "Where do I start?" For most of us, five areas of spending will consume over 50% of the money we earn during our lifetime, so that's the best place to begin.

The five areas are: Home, car, children, education and retirement. Here's what you need to know about each:

Don't bite off more HOME than you can chew. How much house can you comfortably afford? For most people the answer is a house with a purchase price of no more than 3x their annual household income. Rationale: the cost of a home includes much more than the monthly mortgage payment. It's also property tax, insurance, upkeep, etc. Typically these costs run 2%-3% of the price of your home each year. Assuming a 20% down payment, a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, and interest rates in the 5%-6% rate, the 3x your income rule of thumb will translate into total housing costs of roughly 30% of your gross income.

Don't let your CAR drive you to the shelter. The same logic applies to your car. Most people can comfortably afford a car that is one-third of their annual income. If you make $60,000 you can comfortably afford a car that costs $20,000. If that seems low - now you know why so many people are in financial trouble. They are driving it. A car has many other costs than simply the monthly payment. There's insurance, gas, parking, maintenance, etc. If you follow this rule of thumb, your total transportation costs should be 10% or less of your gross income.

Don't let your KIDS kick you in the wallet. Kids are expensive. From a purely clinical standpoint the Dept. of Agriculture estimates it will cost $220,000 to raise a child born in 2008 from diapers to age 18. And that figure is before you add in the cost of college or university! Deciding to be a parent is a major financial obligation. Don't make it worse by over-indulging your love bundles.

Read More

Ref. Sam Himyary, B.Sc., CFP Mortgage Agent
Tel: (613) 297-5825
With www.MortgageBrokersOttawa.com  

10 easy ways to build a credit history

It is a constant issue at the number of people which our team meets who are in a bind because they have no credit history and can't borrow money. This is something we used to associate with older, widowed women who have been cared for by loving, controlling spouses. But that's just part of the story. Not having a credit history isn't the domain on slightly out-of-touch women; there are men out there who haven't got a clue because their wives do EVERYTHING. And it isn't the exclusive territory of our elders; there are young, professionals who haven't bothered to establish their own credit identities.

Everyone needs to have the ability to borrow money. That's true whether you've just found yourself in the new role of single parent without an emergency fund or you're a young adult starting out.

Get a Secured Credit Card. The fastest, cheapest and easiest way to establish a credit history is with a secured credit card. Since there's no risk to the lender because you've put up the cash to cover your balance, secured cards are great for new borrowers or people trying to re-establish credit after a bankruptcy.

Lenders usually want twice the credit card limit. So if you want a $500 credit limit, you'll have to ante up $1,000. Once you've established your ability to manage the card - anywhere from six months to a year - you can ask for the security requirement to be dropped and your deposit returned.

Read More

Contact Us if you like more information

Figure out your finances.

That means determining how much money you can raise for your down payment and how much you can afford to pay on a monthly basis. Go to a lender to find out the size of mortgage you qualify for and get pre-approved. Better yet, use a mortgage broker to find you the best mortgage rate possible. When calculating the costs of home ownership, remember to plan for homeowner's insurance, property taxes, private mortgage insurance (if required), utilities, repairs, and maintenance.

Determine your housing needs.

How long do you intend to live in your new home? Will you be starting or adding to your family? Do you have any special requirements such as proximity to stores, public transportation, recreation facilities, etc.? These are the sort of things you should consider when deciding what kind of housing you will need--not just now, but also five years from now. Remember, if you intend on moving again relatively soon, you should get a shorter term when choosing your mortgage.

Identify suitable neighborhoods.

If it's not located in a neighborhood you like, your new house will never feel like home no matter how nice it is. There are several factors that go into making a "good" neighborhood for most people. It should be safe, close to things that are important to you, and should offer the services you depend on, such as healthcare and convenient shopping. Ambiance and curb appeal may be particularly important to you. Whatever your criteria, once you have a better idea of the areas you are interested in, find out as much as you can about each area's demographics, crime rate, schools, traffic, etc. Check out the county and state records for this information, or you can use Yahoo!'s "Get Local" online service. You can even try the local Chambers of Commerce, but bear in mind that they are in the business of attracting new residents to their neighborhood.

What you expect.

Always get an inspection.


10 hurdles to closing on a new home