7 Ways to Update Your Kitchen for Less Than $1,000

You’ve finally made the decision to sell, but as you sit in your kitchen and look around, you realize the space could use a little love to attract the kind of buyer you’re hoping for. Here’s how to get top dollar for your place without spending a penny over $1,000.

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4 Reasons Why Staging Makes a Difference

e’ve been told not to judge a book by its cover, but first impressions usually impact our decision-making, whether we care to admit it or not.

Therefore, a well-staged home typically has a better chance of selling at a higher price than one that hasn’t been staged.

We reached out to our RE/MAX Influencers—a panel consisting of RE/MAX Sales Associates from throughout Canada—to discover why sellers shouldn’t have “stage fright” when it comes to selling their home.

Faster sale, higher price

Our Influencers agreed that effective staging will help sellers get the deal done quicker, for a higher price.

“I guarantee sellers that, while I don’t know the exact amount they will receive as a result of staging, I know they will get more than their money back and they will sell their home in a shorter period of time than they would without staging,” said one RE/MAX Influencer.

A buyer can tap into his/her imagination when a home is shown in its best light. When potential buyers can see themselves living in your home, they will be motivated to make a reasonable offer.

The ‘Wow’ factor

Simply put: Homes look their best when they are staged.

Staged homes are also depersonalized, which is important because buyers don’t want to feel like they’re purchasing somebody else’s home. They want it to feel as though it’s theirs.

Stagers understand how to professionally present homes to appeal to the emotions of the broader spectrum of prospective purchasers. Photographs of a staged home are also more likely to garner increased interest online.


When potential buyers walk into a home, they’re thinking beyond what their eyes are showing them. They’re visualizing themselves living in the space. Is the home an ideal place for their children to grow up? Does the house have what they need to enjoy retirement?

Personal clutter can often hinder these visions, which is not ideal for the seller. A professional stager will take an objective look at the property and make sure prospective purchasers will be able to see themselves in the space.

A positive first impression

First impressions are incredibly important. On many occasions, buyers will form their opinions by the time they’ve taken a few steps into your home. A bad smell, a crooked frame or a bit of dirt on the floor can be the difference between whether or not you get an offer.

Great books deserve stunning covers; great homes deserve to be staged.

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RE/MAX Own It – Staging Your Home Yourself

Staging your house is incredibly important! After all, you wouldn’t sell your car without making sure it looked its best.So, why wouldn’t you make sure your house is in tip-top shape before you put it on the market?

Staging is one of the best ways to add value to your home for very little money.

So what should you focus on first?

Decluttering! Everywhere. From counters to walls to floors, you want potential buyers to see the house, not your knickknacks. Scrub everything from tile grout to window panes. Every square inch should sparkle! If you don’t have time, hire a pro.

Don’t forget your home’s exterior. Rent a power washer for a few hours and give the house a good clean.

Lighting has a huge effect on people. Add lamps to dark rooms and replace burnt out or low wattage light bulbs.

These are just a few ways to make your house shine, so contact your local RE/MAX agent for more tips on home staging.

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7 Ways to Naturally Freshen Up Your Home for Selling

Prepping your house to put it up on the market can be a bit of a process, but putting in the time upfront to freshen it up can pay off in the end. When a potential buyer comes through the front door, you want their first breath to smell like home (and full-asking price).

Done and Dusted

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the best way to freshen up your living area is to get rid of the dirt, right down to the dust particles. A clean microfibre cloth — with a drop or two of lemon essential oil — will remove that nasty film from furniture, ceiling fans and door trim, and brighten up the room with a fresh, citrus scent.


Odor, Odor, Odor

The day before a showing, avoid cooking any foods with strong odors such as onions, garlic and bacon — they can linger in the air and make your house smell like a fast-food joint, not a family-friendly dwelling that deserves top dollar.


Cookie Monsters

Go a step beyond skipping bacon for a couple days (oh, the sacrifice!) and get baking. There’s a reason REALTORS® continue to use the ole trick of popping in a batch of cookies to bake before a showing…it works. If measuring cups and chocolate chips aren’t your thing, reach for an all-natural, soy-wax vanilla-scented candle.


Get Potted

Tap into the power of nature’s natural air purifiers, a.k.a. plants. Not only does a selection of prettily potted houseplants visually lift an empty corner, but it also cleans the air. Opt for a Boston fern, rubber plant or a peace lily — they all pack a powerful purification punch.


Paint On, Paint Off

When getting a house ready to sell, sometimes retouching the paint can’t be avoided — chips from moving furniture and thumbtack holes from long discarded movie posters need to be fixed. Reach for a non-toxic paint that uses food-grade ingredients and is VOC free.


Fruit Bowl Fragrance

To make a fragrant DIY room spray, make sure to add vodka to your weekend shopping list. Yes, you read that right. Soak citrus rinds in the alcohol overnight (or longer) and then fill a spray bottle half with water and half with the lemony cocktail. Spray liberally around the house — we promise it will smell like an orchard, not a dive bar.



Spotless windows let sunlight stream into a space and help to show it off. Avoid eye-catching streaks with a homemade window spray using equal parts white vinegar and distilled water. For a tough-on-grime cleaner, mix two tablespoons of Borax into three cups of water, apply it to the mucky areas and then wipe clean.


Also, never underestimate the power of fresh air. Open the windows and let the breeze carry away odors, dust and stale air, and wow potential buyers with the freshness they find inside.

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RE/MAX Own It – Small Cost, Big Impact Update

We all know it’s the little things that count; likewise, when preparing to sell your home, small updates can make a big impact on buyers.

Here are some simple solutions that can deliver the biggest bang for your buck:

  • Create a strong first impression by making sure your front door is in tip-top shape
  • How do your kitchen cabinets look? Consider refacing, instead of replacing old cabinets. Or, just paint them. Even updating hardware helps
  • A new coat of paint freshens any room, and can totally transform a space
  • Clean out all of your closets and show the storage possibilities
  • Add style to your home by updating your faucets and lighting fixtures

All it takes is a little pizzazz to make your place stand out from the rest!

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7 questions to ask a real estate agent before you commit

Buying and selling homes is big business. It pays to do some “home work” to find a real estate agent who knows his or her stuff – literally, it pays. An experienced agent with a track record will go a long way to get you top dollar on your property sale, and the best deal on your purchase.

Treat your vetting process like a job interview. Ask questions, and don’t settle until you’re satisfied with the answers.

7 key questions to ask a prospective real estate agent

1. What is your area of focus? By “area” we mean city or neighbourhood, but also the type of property: condo or detached, recreational, luxury, investment, fixer-upper or brand new. Also, some agents specialize in sales while others focus on purchases or rentals. Just like in medicine, a general practitioner can probably handle a typical transaction, but there are specialists who may be better equipped to help you seal the deal.

2. Are you a full-time real estate agent? Someone dabbling in the business part-time to make some extra money might lack the knowledge and the time required to market and show your property, and to negotiate the best deal on your behalf.

3. How many other clients are you currently working with? If it’s a high number, question whether the agent will have the time to devote to you and your needs. On the flip-side, if the answer is zero, that could be a red flag that this particular agent may not have the experience or level of success that you’re looking for.

4. Do you have references? Ask for a few names and numbers of past clients, and call them to help determine if the agent is worth the commission they charge. This leads us to the next question…

5. How do you get paid? There’s no set commission rate for real estate agents in Canada, but typically these range between three and six per cent of the sale price. On a $500,000 home, that’s between $15,000 and $30,000. And remember, cheaper isn’t necessarily better. A cut-rate agent may also fall short in the service department. On the flip side, you may be able to negotiate this fee, so it’s definitely a discussion point.

6. How will you market my home? That ‘For Sale’ sign on the front lawn is great and all, but it just scratches the surface when it comes to selling strategies. Will the home be listed on the Multiple Listings System? What about social media marketing, like Facebook? Online virtual tours? Print advertising, like newspaper ads or flyers? Open houses? The more eyes see your property for sale, the better.

7. What’s your sold-to-list-price ratio? This number will tell you how close the agent has come to asking price. Aim high on this one, folks!

A home is likely the most significant financial transaction you’ll make in your lifetime. Finding the right real estate agent will go a long way to making it a smooth and successful one.

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Should You Buy the Latest Home Automation Gadgets?

You’re at work when the thought hits you, “Did I lock the door when I left this morning?” You check your smartphone, see that you didn’t, and click the “LOCK” button. Now your house is secure. That’s home automation for you! But, is home automation a good idea? That depends on a number of factors.

On the pro side, home automation can improve your quality of life. There are automation products that will adjust heating/cooling depending on whether or not you’re home, make your morning coffee when you get out of bed, and the list goes on and on. These conveniences save you time. Home automation can also give you peace-of-mind. It’s comforting to be able to remotely see the inside of your home and check that everything’s okay.

Home automation can also make your property more appealing to buyers. Traditionally, buyers like homes with security systems, and will appreciate other automation gizmos, too. The only downside is the cost. Like most new technology, home automation products can be pricey and may become out-of-date within just a few years.

Thinking about it? Experts advise you to do your research first. Check out product reviews online. Then, if you determine that a particular product is going to benefit you, go for it!

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GTA REALTORS® Release September Stats

TORONTO, ONTARIO, October 4, 2017 – Toronto Real Estate Board President Tim Syrianos announced that Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 6,379 sales through TREB’s MLS® System in September 2017. This result was down by 35 per cent compared to September 2016.

The number of new listings entered into TREB’s MLS® System amounted to 16,469 in September – up by 9.4 per cent year-over-year.

“The improvement in listings in September compared to a year earlier suggests that home owners are anticipating an uptick in sales activity as we move through the fall. Consumer polling undertaken for TREB in the spring suggested that buying intentions over the next year remain strong. As we move through the fourth quarter we could see some buyers moving off the sidelines, taking advantage of a better-supplied marketplace,” said Mr. Syrianos. The average selling price in September 2017 was $775,546 – up 2.6 per cent compared to September 2016. The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) composite benchmark was up by 12.2 per cent on a year-over-year basis. A key reason for the difference in annual growth rates between the average price and the MLS® HPI composite is the fact that detached homes – the most expensive market segment on average – accounted for a smaller share of overall transactions this year compared to last.

“With more balanced market conditions, the pace of year-over-year price growth was more moderate in September compared to a year ago. However, the exception was the condominium apartment market segment, where average and benchmark sales prices were up by more than 20 per cent compared to last year. Tighter market conditions for condominium apartments follows consumer polling results from the spring that pointed toward a shift to condos in terms of buyer intentions,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Director of Market Analysis.

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Reasons to List Your Home This Month

Is selling your property the furthest thing from your mind? Well, here are some reasons for listing your property that you might not have considered.
1. Your property may be worth more than you think. (It’s difficult to determine market value on your own. I can calculate it for you. Give me a call.)
2. You might qualify for a better home than you anticipate.
3. Perhaps you are tired of your current property and want a change.
4. There may be homes on the market in a neighbourhood in which you’ve always wanted to live.
5. Your current property may no longer meet your needs.
6. Your neighbourhood may have changed in ways you don’t like.
7. You might be ready to downsize or upsize and you no longer want to put that off.
8. You may want to sell in the fall, so you can have a fresh start in a new home in the new year.
9. Depending on the type of home you’re considering, you could end up with lower mortgage payments or no mortgage at all.
10. You might want to move to a home that’s more conveniently
located near work, family and hobbies.
Of course, you may have your own reasons for listing this month. Why not discuss them with a real estate expert? Me. I can answer your questions and explain the options available to you.

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