Kelowna, B.C. & Calgary, Alta. – RE/MAX is proud to partner with the Western Hockey League to present the second season of “RE/MAX Presents: WHL Suits Up with Don Cherry to Promote Organ Donation” – a series of events across WHL markets to promote the importance of organ donation and to generate further support of the Kidney Foundation of Canada.

Beginning Saturday, January 19 through March 2019, all 17 WHL Clubs in Canadian markets will play host to their very own themed games, complete with a variety of special promotions for fans in attendance. Each game, a total of 1,000 limited second edition Don Cherry bobbleheads will be distributed to fans in attendance, along with 1,000 plaid RE/MAX drink koozies shaped like a house. Fans in attendance will also have a photo opportunity with a life size Don Cherry cut out.

On the ice, WHL Clubs will sport their own unique and specially-designed Don Cherry-themed uniforms on a designated game night. This year, players will sport uniforms emblazoned with fun nicknames as opposed to traditional surnames across their shoulders. Fans will have the opportunity to bid on the limited-edition jerseys, with 100 per cent of the proceeds going to local chapters of the Kidney Foundation of Canada. In addition to game-worn uniforms, fans will have the chance to bid on one Don Cherry-autographed jersey in each participating WHL market.

During the 2017-18 WHL Regular Season, participating WHL Clubs came together with RE/MAX to raise over $265,500, representing the largest public awareness and fundraising campaign in the history of the Kidney Foundation of Canada.

“The WHL and our Western Canada-based Clubs are once again this season very excited to be working with our corporate partner RE/MAX of Western Canada to further promote the importance of organ donation and to raise additional funds for the Kidney Foundation of Canada,” stated WHL Commissioner Ron Robison. “Thanks to the ongoing involvement of hockey legend Don Cherry, his family, and the success we experienced last season, we are confident our fans will jump on board and support this very important cause.”

“On behalf of all RE/MAX associates in Western Canada, we’re super stoked to be partnering with Don Cherry again this year for this fantastic night of hockey fun and fundraising for the terrific cause, The Kidney Foundation of Canada,” said Elaine Langhout of RE/MAX Western Canada. “My family was affected by kidney disease so it’s a cause close to my heart.  We encourage fans to come out and support the night when it comes to their town!”

“Thanks to RE/MAX, the WHL and all its fans, the number of transplants last year increased by 13 per cent,” said Don Cherry. “Let’s keep this momentum going by signing your donor card and talking to your family. It only makes sense.”

The Kidney Foundation is a cause close to the Cherry family. Don’s son, Tim, received a kidney transplant from his sister Cindy. With close to 4,500 Canadians awaiting organ donation today – 76 per cent whom require a kidney – the Cherry family, RE/MAX and the WHL have come together to create this awareness campaign in support of the Kidney Foundation; who will have a booth at each game to field questions and hand out donation information.

RE/MAX Presents: WHL Suits Up with Don Cherry to Promote Organ Donation schedule:

  • Saturday, January 19 – Edmonton Oil Kings
  • Friday, January 25 – Red Deer Rebels
  • Friday, February 1 – Kamloops Blazers, Moose Jaw Warriors
  • Saturday, February 2 – Prince Albert Raiders
  • Friday, February 15 – Regina Pats, Vancouver Giants
  • Saturday, February 16 – Brandon Wheat Kings
  • Friday, February 22 – Lethbridge Hurricanes, Swift Current Broncos
  • Friday, March 1 – Kootenay ICE
  • Saturday, March 2 – Victoria Royals
  • Sunday, March 3 – Calgary Hitmen
  • Friday, March 8 – Prince George Cougars
  • Saturday, March 9 – Kelowna Rockets, Medicine Hat Tigers, Saskatoon Blades

To receive more information on this promotion or to sign up to be a donor visit CanadaDonates.ca for more details.

About RE/MAX of Western Canada

RE/MAX was founded in 1973 by Dave and Gail Liniger, with an innovative, entrepreneurial culture affording its agents and franchisees the flexibility to operate their businesses with great independence. Over 115,000 agents provide RE/MAX a global reach of more than 100 countries and territories. RE/MAX is Canada’s leading real estate organization with more than 21,000 Sales Associates and over 922 independently-owned and operated offices nationwide. RE/MAX, LLC, one of the world’s leading franchisors of real estate brokerage services, is a subsidiary of RE/MAX Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:RMAX). With a passion for the communities in which its agents live and work, RE/MAX is proud to have raised more than $150 million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals® and other charities. For more information about RE/MAX, to search home listings or find an agent in your community, please visit www.remax.ca.

About the Western Hockey League

Regarded as the world’s finest development league for junior hockey players, the Western Hockey League (WHL) head office is based in Calgary, Alberta. The WHL consists of 22 member Clubs with 17 located in Western Canada and five in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. A member of the Canadian Hockey League, the WHL has been a leading supplier of talent for the National Hockey League for over 50 years. The WHL is also the leading provider of hockey scholarships with over 350 graduates each year receiving WHL Scholarships to pursue a post-secondary education of their choice. Each season, WHL players also form the nucleus of Canada’s National Junior Hockey Team.

About The Kidney Foundation

The Kidney Foundation of Canada is a national volunteer organization committed to improving outcomes of people with kidney disease. Since 1964, The Kidney Foundation of Canada has contributed over $115 million to medical research projects to ensure that treatment options and patient results continuously improve.


For further information, please contact:

Taylor Rocca
Senior Manager, Communications
Western Hockey League

McCall Capozzi
Coordinator, Communications
RE/MAX of Western Canada

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360-Video Tour: Sabrina Smelko on How to Achieve the Perfect Design Balance

The design for Jenn and Phil’s space hinged on balance: balancing the dramatic, high-contrast backsplash with a quieter, low-profile quartz hood vent; balancing hard materials such as light fixtures with soft textiles: balancing old character with modern clean lines; and, my personal favourite, balancing dark and light, from the cabinets to the light herringbone, white oak floors. Layout-wise, our homeowners inspired our decision to maintain an open-concept floor plan. Creating a larger kitchen/dining space at the front of the home was important for them as entertainers, and moving the lounge to the back allowed for better indoor-outdoor flow. And just like our homeowners, we infused plenty of drama and edginess.

Take a 360-degree video tour to see the full makeover. It’s as easy as clicking the play icon and using your mouse to navigate. (To watch 360-degree videos, you need the latest version of Chrome, Opera, Firefox or MS Edge):

Below are other 360-degree design tours for you take a look at:

Below is another 360-degree design tour for you take a look at:

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Mike Holmes Weighs In: Should I Paint, Reface or Replace My Kitchen Cabinets?

Mike Holmes is one of HGTV Canada’s go-to contractors and the host of Holmes and HolmesHolmes: Buy it Right and Home to Win.

Your kitchen cabinets take up a lot of real estate in your kitchen, so if they’re showing their age, they can start to drag down the look and value of the whole room. While we all dream of doing the big kitchen renovation, if that’s not in the cards, focusing on your cabinetry may be a good project to tackle to update your kitchen. The big question I hear a lot is: should I be replacing my cabinets entirely or can I get away with painting or refacing them?

The big difference between painting (or refinishing) and refacing your cabinets is pretty simple. Painting your cabinets freshens up the existing look of your kitchen cabinetry, while refacing them gives it a new look almost entirely. Either way, both choices give you a less expensive option in lieu of doing a full replacement, which is great for any homeowner on a budget. While painting tends to be the cheaper of the two, painted cabinets build up grease and dust more easily than refaced cabinets, so they’ll require more maintenance.

Related: 20 Timeless Kitchen Cabinet Ideas for Your Next Remodel

Refacing your cabinets means replacing all the front facing parts of the cabinet (doors and drawers), but leaving the rest in place. You keep the existing cabinetry framework, but still give it a new look that can change the mood of your kitchen dramatically. You’re looking at a drastically reduced cost to reface your cabinets instead of a full replacement.

Refacing is a pretty quick, simple process that can be completed in a matter of days. Because you’re only replacing front-facing hardware, you’re not disturbing any plumbing or wires that run through the kitchen. The framework of the cabinets needs to be in good shape to be refaced. If their integrity is compromised (such as the cabinet walls feeling soft or the cabinet box is too old to drill new holes), you’re looking at a replacement instead.

Your kitchen will see a lot of wear and tear over the years and your cabinets might take a beating. Most cabinets are made from wood, so water damage is a concern, especially if you’ve sprung a leak. If the wood is starting to warp, showing signs of mould or no longer open or close properly, you’ll want to think about replacing them.

Also, think about the rest of your kitchen: what sections are due to be replaced next? Before you replace the cabinetry, think about what other pieces will need to be swapped out in the next five or 10 years. Think long-term and make sure that your new cabinets will match any updated appliances or countertops in the future.

If you’re happy with your kitchen’s layout, you can get away with refacing the cabinets. But, what if you’re doing a bigger renovation? Knocking down walls or adding more space in the kitchen might mean having to move around your cabinets. In that case, you may find it more valuable to have the old cabinets ripped out and replaced with new ones.

Now, if you decide to replace your cabinets, but they’re still in decent shape, donate them to the Habitat ReStore. It may seem like we throw out all the kitchen cabinets when we do demos on our shows, but we do donate as many materials as possible. Like I said, cabinets should last a long time, so someone could still get a lot of life out of them.

Images Courtesy of The Holmes Group

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6 Reasons Why Mike Holmes Recommends Getting a Metal Roof

Mike Holmes is one of HGTV Canada’s go-to contractors and the host of Holmes and HolmesHolmes: Buy it Right and Home to Win.

Having a good roof over your head just makes sense. It not only protects your home, but the investment even increases your resale value and offers you savings month-to-month over other roofing systems. For me, the ultimate choice in a roof is metal. Here are six reasons why.

They’re Long Lasting
I love a metal roof because they are built to last. With a metal roof, you’re going to get 50 years of life out of your roof. If you go with other roofing materials, you might be looking at 25 years or less. Much less if they were installed incorrectly. If you install a metal roof, it will probably be the last roof you have to install on your home.

Related: Don’t Fall for These 10 Common Roof Repair Myths

They’re Energy Efficient
Metal is one of the most energy efficient roofing materials out there. Why? Metal roofs tend to reflect solar radiation – versus asphalt, which tends to absorb it – preventing solar heat gain. This helps keep your home much cooler; and in the summer when temperatures run high, you won’t need to run your AC unit as high to compensate.

Related: Beyond Earth Hour: 5 Ways to Save the Planet at Home Every Day

They’re Fire Resistant
Metal is one of the most fire-resistant roofing materials you can get. While clay and fibreglass shingles can provide some level of fire resistance, it won’t protect like metal. That said, I would take every precaution to prevent sparks from lighting up, no matter what kind of roofing material you have. So, if you can, install a fire-resistant underlayment.

They’re Weather Resistant
It’s not only fire you have to worry about: mother nature can throw all kinds of things at your roof, like high winds, hail and snow. A metal roof will stand strong against it all. Not only that, they resist problems with mildew, rot and insects. You might think that a metal roof is an invitation for lightning, but it’s really not. A metal roof doesn’t attract lightning more than other styles.

Related: Mike Holmes Answers Your 6 Most Frequently Asked Renovation Questions

They Look Great
If you’re thinking that all metal roofs look like they’re covered in ugly sheet metal, I’m here to change your mind. Metal roofs come in a variety of styles and colours; and many can even perfectly mimic the look of a classic asphalt roof if that’s what you want. I bet you could walk down your street and see a metal roof and not know it.

They Easily Adapt to Solar Panels
To me, the best kind of home is one that is net-zero: a house that produces its own energy. To do that, you need to ensure your building envelope is able to generate its own power, usually through solar or wind energy. Solar panels are a pretty simple addition that you can attach to a metal roof. I enjoyed adding solar panels to my son’s house in Holmes and Holmes!

Images Courtesy of The Holmes Group and Getty Images

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5 Things to Consider Before Downsizing, According to Scott McGillivray

Scott McGillivray is a real estate expert and host of HGTV Canada’s Income Property and Moving the McGillivrays.

When it comes to houses, bigger is not always better, especially if you’re an empty nester or you’re looking for a lifestyle change. If you’ve decided to downsize – for whatever reason – there are a lot of things you need to think about before you make a move.

Reasons for Downsizing

There are many reasons why you might decide to downsize and move into a smaller home. It could be that the kids have moved out and you don’t need the space anymore, you might desire a lifestyle change and not want to deal with the maintenance of a larger home or it could be for financial reasons. Whatever the reason, it’s important to understand why you’re downsizing so you can figure out what you need from your new space.

Related: What to Fix and What to Forget When Downsizing

Assess Your Needs
Before you settle on a new home, you’ve got to figure out what’s important to you and perhaps more importantly, what you can do without. The best way to start is to make a list of the best and worst features of your present home. Do you love your big family-style kitchen? Will you miss it if you move to a tiny condo? What about the backyard? If outdoor entertaining is important to you, a small bungalow with a yard might be a better option than a condo. And what about pets? If you have a dog who needs walking, think about outdoor accessibility. While compromises will always have to be made, there’s no point in moving to a place that lacks the things you love and need.

Decide on a Location
It may seem like a no-brainer, but think long and hard about where you want to live before pulling the plug on your current home, especially if you’re moving for financial reasons. While moving from a large home to a small house or condo may seem more cost effective, it might not be the case. Cutting the square footage might not save you money if you’re moving into a more desirable area. Often, downtown condos can cost as much or more as large houses in the suburbs. Also, keep in mind that condos come with maintenance fees, so be sure to factor that in.

Related: Top 10 Unexpected Costs of Moving

Think About Square Footage
Knowing you want to downsize is one thing, but make sure that the size of home you decide on can accommodate your lifestyle. Do you entertain large groups of people over the holidays? It will be a lot tougher in a one-bedroom apartment. Do guests come frequently for overnight visits? You might want to think about having an extra guest room. Also, while your kids may have moved out, they might still come back! If this is something you’re okay with, make sure you’ve got the space.

Consider the Future
Whenever you move, you need to think about the needs of tomorrow as well as today. If you’re an empty nester who is getting on in years, this is particularly important. Townhouses can be great in terms of size and upkeep, but they tend to have a lot of stairs, which can become difficult as you get older. The same goes for low-rise apartment buildings without elevators. In these cases, a condo with an elevator might be better. Also, give some thought to design, such as barrier-free showers. And think about any helpful amenities you might want either in the building or nearby in the coming years.

Images Courtesy of Jeremy Kohm, Getty Images and Lauren Miller

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How to Increase Property Value: Scott McGillivray’s Top Tips

How can you increase property value? It’s the eternal question being asked by homeowners, real estate investors and renovators. While the answer may seem simple enough, the wrong upgrades can actually decrease the value of your home.

 According to television host, celebrity contractor and real estate investor Scott McGillivray, “It’s doing the right renovations that provide value to the people.”

Whether you’re buying a fixer-upper home, are renovating an existing house to suit your needs, or you’re planning to sell and want to get the biggest return on your investment, here are some tips to increase property value.

Scott McGillivray’s Top 5 Renos for ROI

increase property value with flooring

Don’t discount the value (or rather, the potential value!) of your flooring. Pull up your dingy carpets, and particularly in older homes, you’re quite likely to find a treasure buried beneath! Oftentimes, hardwood floors will have been covered up for years, and could be in great condition. Refinishing those floors could be all it takes to update the look – and boost the value – of your home.

increase property value with hardware

For a quick, easy and inexpensive home update, swap out the fixtures throughout your home. Every room has them, which means every room has… well, room for improvement! Replace damaged, worn-out or mis-matched door knobs, cabinet pulls, faucets and fixtures, to give your home a more modern edge.

increase property value with paint

Scott says paint is a simple and quick value-add to your home. “Use colour to enhance spaces and make changes. Change the way a space feels,” he says. For example, if you have a small, dark kitchen, consider repainting the walls and re-finishing cabinet in lighter, fresher hues to create the illusion of a larger space. Lighter, cooler colours make walls recede, so this is a great trick for any small room.

increase property value with bathroom

Believe it or not, adding a bathroom in an unconventional space is a growing trend that Scott is no stranger to himself. “What we’ve done a lot of times is under a staircase, we’ll add a powder room or a two-piece bathroom. You will add a lot of value.” If you’re short on space (or budget!) and adding a bathroom isn’t in the plan, renovate an existing bathroom. What’s trending? According to Scott, frameless walk-in showers make a big splash (pun intended!).

increase property value with a kitchen

Number one on Scott’s list of ways to increase property value is (drum roll please…) renovate the kitchen. There are many areas to consider, and they all come at a cost. Scott says to tackle the task, start at the top and work your way down.

  • Lighting Will you have pot lights, perhaps pendants or a chandelier?
  • Seating “Most families today are spending time eating in the kitchen.”
  • Flooring “We do a lot of hardwood in our kitchens,” says Scott. “Engineered hardwood performs best in these spaces.”
  • Appliances “Most people are preparing spaces for 36 inch refrigerators.”
  • Countertops “The most popular in demand is quartz.”

And the most popular layout when it comes to the kitchens is…open concept.

Take a good look at your home and see what you can do to improve property value. Once you do, you may never want to leave!

This article was originally published by Toronto Home Shows.

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CONDO FEES: Here’s what you need to know

Condos have become the home of choice for urban dwellers, as first-time buyers and increasingly, move-up buyers seek affordability and liveability. In fact, a recent RE/MAX report reveals that condominium apartments and townhomes now account for 37 per cent of residential sales in the Greater Toronto Area. In fact, condos were the only property segment to make gains throughout the 2017 housing market correction. What’s driving the trend?

Affordability is a big factor behind the boost in condo living, but it’s certainly not the only one. Condo living comes with many other benefits, including urban conveniences, public transit, employment and entertainment close to home, as well as a lock-n-leave lifestyle for when life takes you further abroad. Part of the package, is condo fees.

What exactly are condo fees, how are they calculated, and what do they cover? Here’s what you need to know.

what are condo fees

Every condo owner pays a regular, non-negotiable condo fee. This fee is calculated based on your share of the condo building – the larger your unit, the greater your fee. This fee is adjusted annually based on the condo’s operating budget.

what do condo fees cover

Your condo fees are divided into three main categories: utilities, common areas and the reserve fund. Let’s take a closer look.

A chunk of your condo fee goes to utilities such as water, hydro and sometimes heat – but this isn’t always the case. Most brand-new condominiums are now being built with individual heat pumps that are controlled by, and paid for by individual owners. Make sure you’re clear on your condo fees before you buy.

We’ve already mentioned that condo ownership means less maintenance on your to-do list. But somebody’s gotta do it, right? Your condo fees cover that expense as well.

And remember those awesome amenities that your family and friends come over to use? You have to contribute to their upkeep. The more amenities your condo has, the higher your condo fees will be. Think pool, gym, hobby rooms, sports courts, an in-house theatre, indoor and outdoor areas. Ask yourself if you’re going to actually use all of the amenities offered by your condo, because you’ll be paying for them.

Condo fees also pay for snow and garbage removal, cleaning and minor repairs of common areas, exterior window washing and the like.

what is a reserve fund

A portion of your condo fee is set aside in a reserve fund, which every condo board must maintain as a savings account for big-ticket items that inevitably arise. A roof replacement can cost upwards of half a million dollars, so this fund is essential.

Then there’s the Special Assessment. In the case that the reserve fund doesn’t quite cover the bill, each condo owner will be required to pitch in their proportionate amount to cover the cost.

If you’re considering condo ownership, make sure you incorporate the condo fee into your budget. Make sure to leave a buffer in case your condo fees increase, which tends to happen as condos age. Any increases are at the discretion of the condo board.

Before you make an offer, get a copy of the condo’s status certificate, which contains important info about the condo’s financial status. Review it and make sure you understand it. The document will include things like the condo’s budget, any legal matters the condo may be facing, information about the reserve fund, current maintenance fees and whether any increases are planned in the near future.

The fee for the status certificate? $100. The information? Potentially worth a great deal more to your investment.

Looking for your perfect condo? Use our search feature to identify your top contenders!

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Condo affordability propels market share to peak levels

Condominiums represent almost 37 per cent of total residential sales, up from 30 per cent in 2013

Condo affordability is fuelling the rise of vertical growth, with resale condominium apartments and townhomes in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) now representing almost 37 per cent of total residential sales on the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB). Market share for this segment has been trending upward since 2013, when the transfer of condominiums represented 30 per cent of total sales, according to a new report by RE/MAX of Ontario-Atlantic Canada Region.

REMAX Vertical Growth GTA Condo Affordability Graph

Momentum has also been reflected in resale condominium values, which is the only property segment that held up against the 2017 market correction. The average price of a condominium apartment increased almost eight per cent to $551,761 between January and October 2018, up from $512,552 during the same period in 2017. Townhomes were slightly ahead of last year’s pace, with values hovering at $571,058, compared to $568,165 in 2017. Prices of freehold properties, including single-detached, semi-detached, attached/row/townhouse, and linked townhomes are all down year-over-year.

“The condominium lifestyle continues to resonate with buyers in the Greater Toronto Area for a number of reasons. While the affordability aspect is first and foremost, we’ve also a seen strong investor presence in recent years,” says Christopher Alexander, Executive Vice President and Regional Director, RE/MAX of Ontario-Atlantic Canada Region. Alexander cites a recent report by Urbanation and CIBC, which found that investors who bought condominiums for the purpose of renting accounted for 48 per cent of all newly completed units in the GTA in 2017. “The income potential, given today’s tight rental market, in addition to the overall return on investment, has been a serious draw for real estate investors.”

Immigration, population growth, and lifestyle choices have also contributed to the uptick in demand for condo apartments and townhomes. Aging infrastructure, combined with a lack of transportation alternatives, longer commute times and the environmental component—with efforts to reduce carbon footprint—have all played a role in buyers choosing condominiums in Toronto proper that are close to both work and play, explains Alexander.

The most popular area for condominium sales remains the downtown core, with one in every five condominiums (21.9 per cent) sold in the area bordered by Bloor Street to the north, the lakeshore to the south, the Don Valley Parkway to the east and just past Dovercourt Road in the west (TREB districts C01 and C08).

 “In spite of a proliferation of condominium developments over the past decade, supply and demand issues continue to persist in the core,” says Alexander. “Limited inventory continues to place substantial upward pressure on prices, with fewer affordable housing options available—and that includes condominium rentals.”

To illustrate, only about six weeks of inventory is currently available for sale in the downtown core (1.75 months for townhomes and 1.4 months for condo apartments), with a market absorption rate of 69 per cent for condo apartments and 57 per cent for townhomes. Average resale prices hover at $700,000 for condo apartments, with new construction closing in on $1,000 per square foot. In the GTA, months of inventory for condominium apartments sit at 1.7, while townhomes hover at 2.1.

“Higher prices in the core are prompting buyers to consider condominium communities farther afield,” says Alexander. “New construction along subway lines to the north, east and west are exceptionally popular, especially with first-time buyers. Yonge Street north of Hwy. 401 comes to mind (C07 and C14) as well as the Sheppard line between Bayview Avenue and Leslie Street (C15). Combined, these two areas represent approximately 10 per cent of total resale condominium sales to date and continue to experience growth.”

Mississauga is the GTA’s second most popular destination for condominium living, accounting for 14 per cent of condominium sales so far this year.

At present, almost 51 per cent of condominium sales in the GTA occur under the $500,000 price point, but affordability is being threatened as builders and developers face skyrocketing construction costs and a land crunch within the GTA, and struggle to maintain the status quo.

“The necessity to ‘build up’ has never been more prevalent in a city that has seen its population climb from one census to the next,” says Alexander. “To prevent the run-up we’ve seen in housing values in the past, all levels of government must work together with developers to streamline the building process. We need to create more affordable GTA housing options that can accommodate buyers and renters at every price point.”


  • Close to 25,000 condominium townhomes and apartments have changed hands in the Greater Toronto Area between January and October 2018.
  • While overall condominium sales are 14 per cent off last year’s pace, the gap is slowly closing.
  • Condominium buyers in move-up segments are active, with sales between $500,000 and $699,999 up three per cent from the same period in 2017 (8,274 versus 8,059).
  • Year-to-date sales of luxury condominium apartments and townhomes over the $2 million price point are two per cent ahead of 2017 levels, with 143 units sold year-to-date, compared to 140 sales during the same period last year

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How To Furnish Your First Home On A Tight Budget

You’ve just bought your first home, or you’re planning to purchase in the near future. You’re likely on a tight budget, but that doesn’t mean you have to sit on milk crates or sleep on a mattress on the floor. It just means you have to get creative about where to shop for your fashionable finds. Here are seven great places to find fab furniture on the cheap, leaving some money in the bank for those mortgage payments.

public auction to furnish first homeAUCTION BARGAIN
If you think auctions are just for those who have money to burn on museum quality pieces, think again. There are a number of auctions out there that cater to a variety of tastes and budgets – including cash-strapped first home buyers. Do some research beforehand by checking the online preview or catalog to see what might pique your interest.

TIP: If you’re eyeing a large furniture piece, such as a sofa or table, remember that you’ll need access to a large vehicle to deliver it to your home.

garage sale to furnish first homeGARAGE SALE FINDS
As the old saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Garage sales are a goldmine for small furnishings and accessories, and sometimes larger pieces too. Keep your spring and summer Saturday morning open, and start your search early in the morning to score the best finds. Garage sales are a great place to test your negotiating skills, and remember: cash is king.

TIP: You don’t necessarily have to furnish your entire place with second- and third-hand finds, but when combined with some new items, these will be a budget saver.

estate sale to furnish first homeESTATE SALE SAVINGS
Just bought your first home? You’ll definitely want to keep your eyes peeled for moving and estate sales, where you’ll find some real bargains on big-ticket items. Check your local paper for advertisements of these sales, and arrive early.

TIP: Wear your haggling hat, and don’t be shy to ask for a discount on the price! Remember that these are used items, and the seller is eager to unload.

antique store to furnish first homeANTIQUE STORE SCORE
While the word “antique” might have you thinking Victorian furniture and hefty price tags, don’t worry. Just because you come upon an antique store doesn’t mean everything in there is a collectible. Take your time and browse the collection. You just might find that rare gem you have been looking for, at a price you can afford.

TIP: Check back often. Pieces tend to trickle in, and you never know what you might find from day to day.

resale store to furnish first homeRESALE SHOP STOP
Resale shops offer gently used items at discount prices. Take inventory of the resale stores in your area. These should become regular stops while you’re out and about. As with antique stores, you never know what might land on the showroom floor, so visit frequently.

TIP: Get to know the store staff. Advise them of what you are looking for, and ask them to call you when they come across a great find that could work in your home.

shop online to furnish first homeONLINE OPTIONS
With the advent of online retail shops, it seems you never have to leave home to satisfy your shopping cravings. There are many online furniture retailers that offer a range of furniture at affordable prices. Many online retailers even offer free shipping. Read customer reviews to ensure you’re boing business with a reputable company.

TIP: Familiarize yourself with their return policy, in case you need to return or exchange your item.

floor model sale to furnish first homeFLOOR MODEL SELL-OFF
You’ve got lots of options for finding great furniture at discount prices – but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a steal of a deal at your favourite furniture store. Next time you’re browsing around, ask if they sell off floor models or “sold as is” items at reduced prices. This is a great way to get a brand name at a bargain price.

TIP: A couple of pricey pieces go a long way. Save up and buy that brand-name chair or coffee table you love, and pepper these in with bargain finds for an eclectic, trendy look.

Once you have all the functional “core” essentials, infuse some personality and pops of colour into your first home through artwork and accessories. Be creative and choose pieces that help tell your story and reflect your unique character.

It can be easy to get caught up in all the excitement of buying your first home, but remember to keep “things” in perspective – literally. Furniture doesn’t have to be brand new or brand name to do the job. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your first home doesn’t have to be fully furnished right off the bat, either. Take your time, be selective and surround yourself with things you really love. You’re sure to make your place a feel like “home” in no time.

RELATED READING: How Much Will It Cost To Buy A Home?

This article was originally published by Toronto Home Shows.

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9 Home Buying Mistakes First Timers Make

9. Shopping before getting pre-approved for a mortgage.

Many first-time homebuyers decide they’re ready to take the leap, and start touring open houses “just to see what’s out there.” While getting a feel for the market is certainly a good idea, you risk falling in love with a home that is not in your budget. Before you start seriously shopping the market, visit your bank, mortgage broker or lender, and get a mortgage pre-approval. You’ll know the exact amount you’ll qualify for, so when you’re ready to make an offer, you can do so with confidence and no “conditional of financing” clauses.

8. Skipping the mortgage pre-approval altogether.

We’re mentioning this one again, because it’s super important. Getting pre-approved not only informs you of how much you can spend on a home, but it also guarantees the current interest rate for about 90 days, giving you the freedom to shop knowing you’re safe from rate hikes in the near future. With interest rates on the rise, this step is more important than ever.

7. Making major life changes when applying for a mortgage.

Once you’ve filed your application, avoid changing jobs, making big-ticket purchases on credit, or taking out new loans. These can all alter your financial picture, and can impact your ability to qualify for the mortgage or the amount you had originally anticipated. If possible, wait until after you’ve crossed the ‘t’s and dotted the ‘i’s.

6. Not saving enough for a down payment.

It’s true that the minimum requirement in Canada is five per cent, but try to put down at least 20 per cent of the purchase price. Having 20 per cent or more means you won’t have to take out a high-ratio mortgage – and avoid the mortgage default insurance premiums that go with it. If you are unable to save this minimum amount, this could be an indicator that you’re shopping beyond your financial capacity. Consider lowering your budget, delaying the purchase until you’ve saved enough money, and consult a trusted financial advisor for advice tailored to your situation.

READ: https://blog.remax.ca/much-will-cost-buy-house/

5. Not accounting for the “extra” costs.

You can estimate to spend (approximately) between 1.5 to four per cent of the purchase price of the home. This includes costs such as the deposit, property insurance, title insurance, lawyer fees, home inspection fee, moving costs and more. Be sure to budget these into your purchasing plan.

Use this MONTHLY HOME BUDGET PLANNER to get started.

4. Not seeing enough homes.

Before you settle down, make sure you sow your oats, so to speak. Since you’ve never owned a home, and particularly if you’re moving from your parents’ place, you’ll want to tour lots of different home styles and neighbourhoods. Keep an open mind – you just mist surprise yourself! When narrowing down your home’s location, weigh factors such as proximity to work, family and friends; public transit and access to major roads and highways; and things such as shopping, services, green space, and your lifestyle. which will affect the liveability of the home, its current value, and the resale price of your home.

READ: Location Versus Home Style

3. Seeing too many homes.

Don’t get us wrong – it’s definitely a good idea to see what’s on the market, if only for the sake of comparison. You’ll gain a better understanding of what comparable homes are valued at, their condition, and your negotiating power. This is valuable intel, whether you’re buying your first home or your tenth. But buyer beware: particularly in a hot market, sitting on the fence can mean losing the property. A trusted, experienced real estate agent can best advise you on this.


2. Not getting everything in writing.

Under the right market conditions, negotiating may be part of your purchasing plan. Any conditions of the purchase and sale must be on paper. If it’s not in the contract, it doesn’t count. Your contract is your only way of holding the buyer and seller accountable. An experienced real estate agent can help advise you, and negotiate on your behalf.

READ: 7 Questions To Ask An Agent Before Your Commit

1. Biting off more than you can chew.

You’ve likely heard the term “house poor.” Buying a home is a huge financial commitment, so ensure you can afford it. As a first foray into home ownership, condos are a popular choice, thanks to their lower price point, smaller footprint (read: less maintenance and lower operating costs) and their central locations. But condos are a lifestyle choice as well as a financial one. Consider your purchase from all angles.

READ: Buying A Home Without Breaking The Bank

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