As you tour homes, do you stop in the backyard and visualize your friends and family fighting over the first burgers off the grill while the dogs play in the yard? If outdoor entertaining is a priority in your new home, here are four things to look for.

1. Space.

You may be dreaming of an extensive outdoor kitchen, complete with weatherproof appliances and a table with a built-in cooler. Or, your budget may limit you to a Hibachi and camp chairs. Regardless, make sure there’s enough space to host the backyard soiree of your dreams.

2. Shade.

Western facing backyards will provide the perfect sunset backdrop for your barbecues. Yards on the eastern side of a property may leave you overexposed to the sun.

3. Flooring.

If you’re looking to lounge around barefoot, take note of the patio or deck’s condition. Make sure it’s been refinished so you can avoid splinters.

4. Fire pit.

A fire pit can help stretch the seasonal use of your outdoor space by providing a cozy place to gather around after dark. But don’t let it be a deal breaker – fire pits can be added at any time (and may be on sale if you wait to purchase one toward the end of summer).

Looking for an agent who can help you prioritize your home-shopping list?  Find one here! 

Trying to save money? Home maintenance is so much more affordable than emergency repairs. Here are five routine maintenance projects that can help prevent unexpected costs and save you money year round.

1. Clear out gutters

Water from clogged gutters can overflow and leak into your home. Heavy, ice-packed gutters can tear away from your house in the winter. Grab a ladder, gloves and hose and clear them out while the weather is still warm.

2. Re-caulk windows

Drafty windows and doors can suck money right out of your budget from high energy bills. Check the caulk and weatherproofing strips around doors and windows to make sure they’re not dried and crumbling. If they are, they’re easy (and cheap) to replace.

3. Clean the fireplaces

Have your chimney professionally inspected and potentially cleaned annually to prevent creosote, a flammable byproduct of wood burning, from building up. It can create a fire hazard and elevate the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Before each use, make sure your damper closes tightly and clear remaining ashes from the bottom of your fireplace.

4. Check your filters

Clogged furnace and air conditioning filters not only make your HVAC system less efficient, they also can spread unhealthy pollutants and allergies in your home. Dark and mucky filters should be replaced. You don’t even need tools.

5. Flush the water heater

Neglected water heaters have a way of getting back at you when you least expect it (and that way is usually soggy and expensive.) Clear out sediment particles that collect over time by regularly flushing out water through the drain valve.

Looking for your own home you can maintain with tender-loving care? Contact one of our team members today (to view our featured properties).

With warmer weather and longer days on the horizon, now is the perfect time to get your yard in shape for summer. Keep this year’s top four landscaping trends in mind as you get started.

1. Going green (the coloUr)

Combine different textures and shades of green for a more dramatic lawn. Think of mixing leaves of different size and shape as well as plants with a variety of verdant hues.

2. Going green (the earth-friendly strategy)

More sustainable landscape designs have been becoming more popular over the past few years. Why? They’re better for the planet and can reduce maintenance costs. For example, more homeowners are planting “smart” lawns – varieties of grass bred to stay green with less water.

3. Giving bees a chance

With bee populations in trouble, people are actually starting to welcome the stingers in their yard by planting native plants that provide the nectar they feast on. The efforts to save vital pollinators is another sign of consumers seeking more green, sustainable practices for their yards.

4. Going Danish

The Danish concept of ‘hygge’ is about creating an atmosphere of coziness by embracing life’s simple pleasures. How do you implement hygge in your yard? Add features that promote mindfulness, such as water fountains or aromatic flowers, and arrange seating in a way that encourages conversation. And don’t forget to include spaces that inspire play – for kids and adults. The experts at GardenDesign note an uptick in requests for things like bocce pits, fireplaces and hammocks, features to help home owners relax and play outdoors.

Looking for a new home with space for a bocce pit? Talk to a RE/MAX agent.

Using books as décor is an inexpensive and elegant way to decorate. If you love to read, you most likely have quite a few books lying around. Or if you’re a fan of the rustic or vintage design style, you may also be interested in incorporating older books in your decor. Here are a few project ideas.

1. Stack the books to create a side table

Find some big, sturdy books that match the vibe of your space, stack them on top of one another (use hot glue to keep them together) and use them as an end table for a plant or small trinkets. A small stack of two or three also works well on a windowsill or coffee table.

2. Find a creative bookshelf

A bookshelf in a fun shape or design will showcase your books (and personal style) nicely.

3. Take the word “book shelf” literally

Pillage for books at a local yard sale, antique shop or book shop and build floating shelves.

4. Make a book “vase”

This idea may require a bit of extra work, but is well worth it!

a) Gather a rectangular planter and book you would like to use for the project. (Hint: it is best to use a plant that is in a pot that is the same height as your book.
b) Trace the area of the planter onto the book with a pencil.
c) Take a box cutter or sharp tool and precisely cut at the lines that you have made on the pages.
d) When the chunk of the book is completely cut out, place the pot with the plant back into the space you have created for it. Voila!

Looking for the perfect home where you can display your creations? Contact an experienced RE/MAX Caldwell agent, today.

~ Shared RE/MAX story

Planning to remodel?

While the total cost of your project will depend on its scope, materials and the fees of any professionals you hire, here are some suggestions for beginning to craft a renovation budget.

1. Determine where the money will come from

Will you use savings? Or will you take out a home equity loan? Once you determine your source of funding, determine how much you want to spend on the project – and stick to that limit.

2. Set your priorities

Before you pull out a calculator, clarify your reasons for renovating. Divide those reasons into wants and needs. For example, reconfiguring your bathroom so that your currently questionable electrical and plumbing will pass an inspection is a ‘need’. His-and-her water closets, a whirlpool tub and built-in towel heaters are ‘wants’. Setting priorities will help you make decisions as you move through the renovation process.

3. Step away from the computer

Visit show rooms, model homes and design stores in addition to checking out pictures online. Before investing in materials and appliances, be sure to see and feel them, or samples of them, in person.

4. DIY or contractor?

The biggest question to answer when creating your budget is deciding whether to do the work yourself or to hire a contractor. Doing the work yourself is usually less expensive – unless, of course, something (costly) goes wrong. Using a contractor, however, can mean your project is completed to professional standards and usually in a shorter time frame. Be sure to calculate the value of your time (and your back and knees) and the inconvenience of having a bathroom or kitchen out of use during the project when deciding whether to opt for DIY or a pro.

5. Expect the unexpected

Whether you plan to do the work yourself or hire a contractor, add on an extra 15 to 20 percent of your total budget for unforeseen expenses. Added costs inevitably arise, especially if you’re dealing with an older home.

Want to know which home renovations could improve your resale value? Talk to a RE/MAX Caldwell Agent today!

It might seem that everyone is hibernating for the winter, but home shoppers are still out there in the colder months. Here are “few tips” for making your listing stand out!

1. Stay warm

This is not the time to save a few bucks on your heating bill. You want to create a feeling of welcoming warmth and you can’t do that with a chilly house. If the home is vacant, keep the heater on a timer so the property is warm during showing times.

2. Lighten up

It’s even more important to make sure each room is well-lit during the darker winter months. Table and standing lamps are quick fixes for a dim room.

3. Highlight seasonal features

Build a fire. Arrange some plush throws and fluffy cushions on the sofas in your finished basement. If your home has features that make it a cozy place to spend the winter, be sure to highlight them.

4. Show off your landscaping in photos

To help prospective buyers look beyond winter’s snowy lawn and envision the property in warmer months, display photos of the house taken when things were green and blooming. Make a few flyers or a photo album and leave them out (and open) where buyers are sure to see them.

5. Clear the way to a sale

Make sure the driveway, walkways and porch are safe and free from snow and ice. Be sure to shovel your deck and patio so buyers can walk out and imagine enjoying them in warmer times.

Thinking of selling your home? There’s no need to wait until spring. A RE/MAX Caldwell Agencies agent can talk to you about how the seasons affect sales in your particular market. Find an agent today!

Whether 2017 is the year you decide to list your home and move, or plant roots and renovate, there’s no better way to kick-start the year than with a reno. A renovation can help you customize your home to your heart’s desire, or prep it with all the latest must-haves to ensure it’s up to market standards. Either way, we’ve got the top 10 decor trends fro the home, to inspire a 2017 renovation. 

1. NATURAL WOOD

in 2017, expect to see a major departure from modern, polished spaces, in favour of a look that’s a little more lived in, with a lot more warmth. Natural wood cabinets, shiplap statement walls or butcher block counter tops will help achieve this look, but a classic, well-worn harvest table, or a beautiful vintage wood headboard is an easier and more affordable way to create it, too.

2. OPEN SHELVING

You may not be a pro chef, but there’s no reason your kitchen can’t look like a professional’s. Open shelving is great for busy kitchens because it leaves pots, pans and plates easily accessible. In your kitchen, it’s an opportunity to show off your teapots, teacups and other collectibles.

2. black factory doors & windows

Living in a loft isn’t all it’s cracked up to be (who wants to sleep next to a dishwasher?) but home owners are handpicking design elements to create spaces that capture the industrial, vintage feel of a loft. Just think of the natural light a set of factory windows can offer!

4. WALLPAPER IN UNEXPECTED PLACES

2016 was a huge year for wallpaper (we were treated to so many incredible prints, and now at more affordable prices). For the year ahead, let your mind wander and use wallpaper in all sorts of unexpected places, like closets, behind open shelving, and even backsplashes! Placed behind glass, this decorative alternative to tile is easy to clean and seriously stunning.

5. VELVET

Velvet was the material of 2016 in the fashion world, and the realm of home has become wise to the cause, with luxurious velvet pillows, couches and curtains adding warmth and depth to homes. This material suits winter particularly well, but plan to rotate velvet accessories with the seasons to lighten up rooms for spring and summer.

6. BLACK FIXTURES

A little bit of black can go a long way to ground an all-white room. Try black pulls on white cabinets, or a structural black faucet in a white bathroom. This trend is an easy fix for an outdated white space.

7. INTRICATE TILE

To contrast against bare white walls and rich dark wood, intricate displays of tile are becoming a popular way to share a homeowner’s personality and style.

8. TILE TO WOOD TRANSITIONS

And speaking of boundaries…expect to see unique integrations between tiled floors and hardwood. Whether bridging the border between rooms or designating spaces in an open concept home, ornate tile designs are pushing the boundaries for homes in 2017.

9. CORK WALLS

Cork is a gorgeous material that’s picking up steam in the design world, but the coolest use of cork is in the home office, where a floor-to-ceiling cork wall can act as a family’s motherboard, with permission slips, artwork and every essential scrap tacked on for safe keeping.

10. teched out

2017 will be the year of the Smart Home. The most discerning buyers will be looking for homes with fully integrated technology, from App controlled heating and cooling, to fridges that can email you their contents when you’re hemming and hawing in the middle of the grocery store, these houses fill the gaps where your partner falls short! 

To ensure that your renovations are up to market standard, please consult with one of our Caldwell Team Members, today.

 

I’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.

1. FASTER SALES, 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.

2. 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.

3. visualization

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.

4. 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.

Your Realtor can clue you in to market trends and tips for improvements that may add to your home’s value. Find an experienced agent with RE/MAX Caldwell Agencies!

A spacious home can be incredibly appealing to potential buyers. No one wants to live in a space that seems cramped and cluttered.   Even if your house is relatively small, there are ways you can maximize the space you do have.  We reached out to our RE/MAX Influencers—a panel consisting of RE/MAX Sales Associates from throughout Canada—to find out their top tips for making your home seem more spacious to potential buyers.

1. Stage Your Home

Clearing countertops, removing knickknacks and getting rid of oversized furniture are key first steps to make your space appear as spacious as possible.  Several Influencers mentioned “less is more” when it comes to furniture and accessories. Your best bet is to leave only a few subtle, decorative items. “Keep in mind that when showing your house, there could be four or five people wandering through at once. Make sure they can go from room to room without bumping into anything,” said a RE/MAX Influencer.  Hiring someone to stage your home will likely be a worthwhile investment. It may also be worth it to rent a storage space during the period when your house is being shown.

2. BRIGHTEN IT UP

Walls that have light colours and good lighting can go a long way toward making your home look more spacious. It’s also a good idea to have window coverings opened to allow as much natural light in as possible. Eliminate mats and certain area rugs to help focus on floor area; remove large photos to help the space on the walls stand out. “It’s simple: Clean, crisp colours, open spaces, open window coverings, brighter lightbulbs and less clutter will showcase the space within your house.”

3. SMALLER FURNITURE = LARGER ROOM

Bulky pieces of furniture are often the culprit for making spaces appear smaller than they are. Depending on the layout, a large sectional couch may be better in the basement than in a main floor living space.  Arranging furniture in groupings, away from walls, can have the desired effect of making your room seem bigger. Also, if your dining table has leafs, remove them to maximize the space. Add crown moulding to heighten the stature of the room.  “A great rule of thumb is: The more wall space and floor space that is visible, the better.”

Story by RE/MAX Canada

We’ve all heard the fresh baked cookies trick, but the truth of the matter is, potential buyers really are paying attention to things like the smell of your home. A few days before your open house or showing, you should literally open your house. To really air out your home, you’ll need to do this for at least a couple of hours for a few days leading up to the open house. Burning a candle can be potentially off putting, depending on the scent you choose, but sprigs of fresh herbs, like lavender, basil or mint, can be incredibly energizing and hyacinths smell heavenly.

Keep in mind, you’re selling a lifestyle, along with your home. People don’t want to envision themselves living amongst your smelly cats and/or hockey bag(s). Create an aura for your house that instills a sense of good health and wellness, and your house will be sold in no time. Here are five more tips:

1. CURB APPEAL

First impressions are critical when it comes to real estate, so to ensure potential buyers get a good feel for your house as soon as they roll up, pay special attention to your curb appeal by cleaning up your yard and adding a touch of decor. Depending on the season, that could mean cutting the grass, trimming any wayward hedges and making sure the all the garbage cans are tucked away. Fix any broken stairs or porch railings and consider adding a pop of colour with flowers to spruce up the existing flowerbeds. You don’t have to spend a lot, or redesign your landscaping, a few pots (try three in different sizes arranged in a cluster) can make a strong enough impact when placed beside your front door.  If there’s room on your covered porch/patio, consider adding a rocking chair or bistro set. While prospective buyers probably won’t consider whiling away the evening out there in winter, the furniture can remind them how nice it is to sit there in warmer weather. 

1. DECLUTTER

When prepping your home for an open house, narrow down your possessions by packing away as much as you can or store packed boxes neatly in a garage or basement. When a room is left with just the necessities, it looks larger and won’t be as distracting to potential buyers. Sure, your decades-long collection of fashion magazines is impressive, but buyers don’t want to be reminded of the hoarder—or, “collector”—who’s been living in the home. Think of a hotel room, albeit a stylish one, and follow that template: bed, bedside table, lamp, phone, artwork over the bed. The end.

3. CLEAN

Buyers will inspect your home with a fine-tooth comb, they’ll open every cupboard, wipe their fingers across every baseboard and turn their noses at ever smudge on your light switches.  Unless you actually enjoy cleaning, consider hiring a service to come in and scour the place.  If you decide to tackle the job yourself, pay extra attention to the two most important areas of your house: the kitchen and the bathrooms.  Countertops should be clear of all items and sparkling clean, while appliance fronts should be spotless. Remove any photos, art or calendars from the fridge door and sweep and mop the floors. In the bathroom, remove all personal items from the vanity and make sure the sinks, toilets and bathtubs are gleam-ing. If you have a glass-front shower, make sure it’s free of soap scum or water marks. Light a candle and replace any threadbare towels with one or two new fluffy white ones. Buyers will inspect your home with a fine-tooth comb, they’ll open every cupboard, wipe their fingers across every baseboard and turn their noses at every smudge on your light switches. Un-less you actually enjoy cleaning, consider hiring a service to come in and scour the place. If you do decide to tackle the job yourself, pay extra attention to the the two most important areas of the house: the kitchen and the bathrooms. Countertops should be clear of all items and sparkling clean, while appliance fronts should be spotless. Remove any photos, art or calendars from the fridge door and sweep and mop the floors. In the bathroom, remove all personal items from the vanity and make sure the sinks, toilets and bathtubs are gleaming. If you’ve got a glass-front shower, make sure it’s free of soap scum or water marks. Light a candle and replace any threadbare towels with one or two new fluffy white ones. 

4. FRESH PAINT

A top-down paint job may not be in the budget, but if your walls or baseboards have seen better days, it may be worth a quick paint job. Any walls that make a major statement, like your daughter’s multi-coloured bedroom, or your bright green dining room, might be better served in a neutral white or grey.

5. CONSIDER THE LIGHTING

Replace any burnt out light bulbs and turn on all of the lights to make your home feel warm and inviting. If you’ve got any areas of the house that don’t have adequate lighting or that lack natural light, consider adding a floor or table lamp to help brighten it up or even replace the light fixture altogether. feel warm and inviting. If you’ve got any areas of the house that don’t have adequate lighting or that lack natural light, consider adding a floor or table lamp to help brighten it up or even replace the light fixture all together.

Looking for more tips, check out HDTV

Your Realtor can clue you in to market trends and tips for improvements that may add to your home’s value. Find an experienced agent with RE/MAX Caldwell Agencies!

People talk about going home for the holidays, but it’s often the traditions of the holidays that create a home wherever you are. RE/MAX is taking a look at things that make a house a home and here’s one way you can add to your seasonal celebration!

Thanks to easy-to-use online platforms, creating a book full of your family’s favourite recipes is simple. Sites like ‘Shutterfly and ‘Create My Cookbook  guide you through the process of choosing templates and design options. Other sites, like ‘Heritage Cookbook‘, also help you reach out to family members. If you’re creating a family cookbook this holiday season, here are a few suggestions to get you started.

1. Gather recipes

Send family members a request via email asking them to contribute a recipe and food-related photo to be included in the book. Let them know whether you’re focusing on a theme, like holiday cookies, or would like a particular recipe of theirs that you love.

2. Set deadlines

Be sure to let family members know you need their input by a certain date in order to include their contribution. It can’t hurt to send a few email reminders in the weeks leading up to the deadline.

3. Dig out those old cards

Don’t forsake those old recipe cards just because you’re creating your cookbook digitally. They make fabulous illustrations to give your book a personal flair – the more sauce-splattered, the better.

4. Not just recipes

Food elicits rich memories beyond a full stomach. Try to include bites of family food lore among the ingredient lists and cooking instructions. You could ask each family member to talk about a favourite food, a memorable meal or a kitchen catastrophe.

5. Zoom in – and out

While professional cookbooks feature gorgeous close ups of food, go beyond ingredients for a project that’s celebrating family. Ask family members for old photos of past family meals as well as old pictures of them to include alongside their recipes.

6. Draw in the kids

Enlist the young children in your family to help illustrate the book. They could draw their favourite foods, family members or even scrawl cooking tips in crayon for you to sprinkle throughout the pages.

The kitchen of your dreams, where you can bring your family’s favourite recipes to life, may also be a wise investment. Thinking about renovating? Your Realtor can clue you in to market trends and tips for improvements that may add to your home’s value. Find an experienced agent!

remax-blog-ugly-sweater-party

People talk about going home for the holidays, but it’s often the traditions of the holidays that create a home wherever you are. RE/MAX is taking a look at things that make a house a home and how each one can add to your seasonal celebration.

Eat, drink and be tacky with your closest friends by hosting an ugly holiday sweater party. No matter what you celebrate this holiday season, there’s a sweater for you. So hit the thrift store, the attic or one of the online stores and start planning. Here are a few ideas:

1. Make an impression with your invite

Feature yourself – in your ugly sweater, of course – on a paper or online invitation (i.e. Paperless Post) have a whole section of pre-made options to choose from).

2. Deck the halls

It’s not just about the sweater. Raid the dollar store or thrift store for the most garish holiday decorations you can find and go nuts. Wrap your doors and fridge in loud holiday paper and ribbon, transform a room with tinsel and don’t forget the bathroom. Remember, you’re aiming for over-the-top, so items like ‘fun toilet seat cover’ are just a start.

3. Give awards

Hand out prizes in different categories, like Loudest Sweater (with jingle bells!), Scariest Sweater and Cutest Sweater. Mini versions of the holiday’s tackiest dessert – fruitcake – make great trophies.

4. Go retro with refreshments

Authentic ugly holiday sweaters date back to the ’80s (and maybe earlier), so focus on that era for food and drink inspiration: a retro wreath of pigs in blankets, topped with a bow; red and green cups of Jello (with your favourite holiday spirits) stacked in a Christmas tree-shaped tower; and so on.

5. Holiday pictures

Make a giant frame from cardboard and tin foil, accent it with Christmas lights and mistletoe and you’ve got an irresistible photo prop to commemorate the evening with. If you happen to have old holiday pictures of you and your family sporting ugly sweaters, be sure to display them.

Do you have the will to party but lack the space? Maybe Santa will bring you a bigger house for the holidays. If he doesn’t come through, a RE/MAX agent can help. Find one here.