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These before and after photos are a testament to the power of home staging





Photo by WBM, designed by Redesign4more

Who doesn’t love a before and after reveal? For the reader, it’s instant gratification, but behind the scenes, it’s all blood, sweat and tears. We asked Red Barrinuevo, President and Principal Home Stager of Redesign4more, to pull back the curtain on the home staging process. Here he shares photos from five recent projects and explains how he won over prospective homebuyers with style and functionality.

1. Luxury townhouse in the Beaches neighborhood of Toronto, listed at $2.2 million, sold in one month

Photo by WBM, designed by Redesign4more

Red Barrinuevo: This is a four-level townhome with an elevator. It’s almost 4,000 square feet and fronts the beach. The owners didn’t really know how to set it up, the whole house was just a mix of everything. This space was supposed to be for living and dining, but it’s hard to tell because there’s so much furniture. You can barely see the fireplace because there’s a piano right in front of it. We chose to move the piano closer to the balcony, which helped to better define the space.

With a property like this, you’re selling the view as well — it’s like having a vacation home just minutes from downtown Toronto. We pushed the drapes to either side in order to showcase the view and bring in more natural light. We also changed the layout by floating the furniture in the middle of the room to make it feel more cozy and intimate.

Photo by WBM, designed by Redesign4more

RB: This is the master bedroom of the same home, but it wasn’t used just for sleeping — the owner did everything here! There’s exercise equipment, a desk, and toys for his nieces and nephews. We needed to showcase it as a bedroom and nothing else. The room had a lot of luxurious features, like custom drapery, a fireplace, big screen TV and oversized windows, but you couldn’t really tell.

We also needed to break up all the browns. We had a wood bed, a leather bench and a wood built-in media console, so we introduced pattern and brought in a lighter area rug. We added a blueish-grey bedspread and matching accent chairs, too.

2. Detached single-family home in the Cabbagetown neighborhood of Toronto, listed at $1.75 million, sold in 45 days

Photo by WBM, designed by Redesign4more

RB: This is an older Victorian home with a long and skinny layout. It’s open-concept, so the dining room flows into the living room. The furniture pieces that you see in the before photo came from the condo the couple owned before they purchased this house. The dining set was way too small for the room. We picked out bigger furniture pieces and changed the light fixture to one that was more appropriately sized. It’s super functional and brightens up the whole space.

This table is also extendable; it can seat up to eight people. We placed the head chairs on either side of the console, but those can be used for extra seating. This allows a potential buyer to see that the room could accommodate large groups for dinner parties or family meals.

We revarnished the hardwood flooring, which was not very expensive. It doesn’t involve buffing — it’s a chemical application that only takes about half a day to complete. It looks flawless and reflects a lot of light from the front of the house.

3. Condominium in Old Toronto, listed at $1.9 million, sold in one week over asking

Photo by WBM, designed by Redesign4more

RB: This is a two-bedroom plus den, two bath condo. The homeowners were in their early 60s. To sell this condo we knew that it had to look sexy. They had the space, but the furniture pieces were wrong. The back of the couch was almost touching the kitchen counter, and there was no flow.

We brought in a new couch and placed it over by the window. You’re still able to enjoy the view — the profile is low and there’s another seating area adjacent to it. For the color palette, we decided to use mostly white with a few pops of color in the cushions and artwork. It made the space more luxurious and modern.

4. Detached home in the Scarborough borough of Toronto, interior styling project

Photo by WBM, designed by Redesign4more

RB: This is a detached home located in Scarborough near the Bluffs. My clients had recently purchased it and wanted me to style the master bedroom. I often have repeat customers who hire me to stage a home for sale, and then when they move into their new place they want me to set that one up, too. It allows them to really enjoy the space they’re currently living in.

For this master bedroom, I kept the bed they had already purchased — it works well in this space. Their old nightstands were from IKEA and far too small for this bedroom. The homeowners wanted the color palette to be all grey, but to make it more interesting I looked for pieces with pattern, such as as the mirror, area rug and lamps. We played with texture, too, you’ll notice the velvet ottoman, silk drapes and the shimmery light fixture.

5. Semi-detached home in the Summerhill neighborhood of Toronto, sold in two days, $125,000 over asking

Photo by WBM, designed by Redesign4more

RB: The owners of this home really loved plants — there were plants everywhere! As much as I like to incorporate plants, they were just eating up too much floor space, so we removed them.

The table in this dining room was too small and it was pushed up against the wall. They also had a buffet table on one side that was also taking up a lot of much-needed space. We decided to remove the buffet table and move the dining table back into the center of the room.

We were able to squeeze in a skinny glass console on the left side and placed two lamps on top of it, which made a huge difference. There wasn’t a chandelier in this space, so we needed to add more light. A lot of potential buyers will tour homes in the evening after work, so you have to prevent the spaces from looking too dark. In this dining room, we kept the existing wall color and window treatments, but used the lamps and mirrors to increase the amount of light.


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What Is A Housing Bubble? And Are We In One?





What is a housing bubble? You’ve undoubtedly heard the term, but what does it actually mean, and is Canada experiencing one? Whether you already own a home, are considering buying one in the near future, or you’re waiting for the right time to sell, here we answer what is a housing bubble, what causes it, and how it may affect you.

What is a Housing Bubble?

A housing bubble happens when the price of homes rises quickly, at an unsustainable rate. Typically, a price-growth rate that’s in the high single-digits is considered to be healthy and sustainable. Under healthy conditions, homeowners continue to earn equity over time, sellers can make a profit on resale, and buyers can still afford to get into the market. This type of price growth can usually be explained by economic factors, such as an employment boom and favourable interest rates.

On the other hand, a housing bubble can happen as a result of non-organic growth. For example, if speculators were flooding the market, buying up homes to take advantage of rapid price growth, with the intention of selling in the near term for a hefty profit. When prices are deemed to have hit a high point, speculators list their properties for sale. This massive influx of listings, coupled with stagnating demand, causes prices to plummet and results in a “housing market crash.”

A housing bubble is a temporary event and prices eventually return to normal levels, when demand rises again and home-buying activity resumes.

What Happens When a Housing Bubble Bursts?

During a housing bubble, homes become overvalued. When the bubble bursts, prices fall. Homeowners who have no intention of selling are unlikely to feel the direct impacts of the bursting bubble. However, these market conditions often indirectly impact other aspects of the economy, so to call homeowners who aren’t selling “free and clear” would be misleading. The ripple effects of a bursting housing bubble would likely touch most of us, in one way or another.

Homebuyers who purchased a home during a housing bubble likely paid considerably more than it is worth. Properties bought by end-users as a residence, with no intention of being sold in the short-term, will eventually rebound closer to “normal” values and at some point, return to positive growth.

A housing bubble poses the biggest risk to home sellers. Those who purchased in the bubble, but now find themselves forced to sell their home, will come up short on resale. They bought the home at a price that exceeds what they can recoup, putting them in the red with no asset to show for it.

For example, someone purchased at peak market prices, but due to circumstances such as a job loss or the inability to carry the costs for any reason, now has no choice but to sell in a down market. The seller still owes money to their mortgage lender on a home that they no longer own.

Are We in a Housing Bubble?

The Canadian housing market took a surprising upward turn during the COVID-19 pandemic, after coming to a grinding halt in mid-March. The slow-down was short-lived, and what followed through the remainder of 2020 was a a spike in demand for homes met by a shortage of supply. With 2021 well underway, there appears to be no end in sight.

There are a number of factors that indicate we’re not experiencing a bubble caused my market speculators, contrary to some media reports.

A recent online survey of RE/MAX brokers and agents in Western Canada, Ontario and Atlantic Canada found that speculators are not a factor in the Canadian real estate market at this time. In fact, more than 96% of RE/MAX brokers and agents supported this finding, confirming that the majority of homebuyers are end-users. Speculators tend to wait out hot markets, buying when prices are down and selling when they’re up again. The short-term investment opportunities they’re generally looking for are hard to find under current market conditions. Bully offers and bidding wars are commonplace, and we continue to see demand outpacing supply with the release of the monthly housing market data. These factors are generally inhospitable to speculators and investors.

For a housing bubble to burst, there needs to be a steep incline in inventory and new listings, and a decline in demand – neither of which is likely to happen any time soon.

Housing Crash 2021? It’s Highly Unlikely.

The Canadian housing market is still feeling the impacts of the pent-up demand from 2017, when the government introduced the foreign buyer tax and the mortgage stress test as a means to cool the overheating market. These policies prompted many homebuyers to move to the sidelines, opting to wait and save, with plans to re-engage in the housing market in a few years.

Now fast-forward a few years to 2020. COVID-19 had a similar impact on the market, whereby many homebuyers delayed their purchase plans due to pandemic-related uncertainties. That pre-existing pent-up demand for homes continued to swell. With Canadians subject to stay-at-home orders with nowhere to go and spend their hard-earned money, they collectively saved historically high sums, which was injected back into the housing market once consumer confidence returned. The spending came in the form of record-high home sales and for those who were unwilling to face the competitive resale market conditions, renovations to existing dwellings. In fact, Canadian real estate was said to be the driving force behind the Canadian economy in 2020.

Savings, low interest rates and low inventory continue to put pressure on the housing market.

Now, consider the housing needs of the 1.2 million people who are expected to immigrate to Canada through 2023, per the government’s 2021-2023 Immigration Levels Plan.

Given all this, it’s highly unlikely that we’ll experience the influx of real estate listings needed for a housing market crash – and if we did see those listings suddenly come on stream, there should be plenty of buyers to absorb them.

Homebuyers and Sellers, Do Your Due Diligence

Challenging market conditions and a still-present global pandemic have added some personal risk on the part of homebuyers and sellers. It’s important to remember that conditions vary across Canada, and can be dramatically different between provinces, cities, and even from one neighbourhood to the next. Now more than ever, it’s important to work with a trusted, experienced professional Realtor who can guide you though the buying and selling process.

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CIBC poll shows majority of homeowners have no plans to sell amid a tight housing market and low rate environment





TORONTO, April 21, 2021 /CNW/ – As supply remains tight in key regions of the Canadian housing market, a recent CIBC survey finds that most homeowners say the pandemic has not changed their intentions of staying put, with many choosing to use their accumulated savings to renovate their current property rather than list it.

With only six per cent of homeowners polled saying they planned to sell pre-pandemic, the majority (77 per cent) say the pandemic has not impacted their housing plans. Most (63 per cent) agree that low interest rates haven’t motivated them to sell and upgrade to a bigger home either.

Many homeowners (34 per cent) have renovated their homes over the past year, while a similar number (31 per cent) say they plan to make upgrades in the next twelve months. Of those who have renovated, most (71 per cent) funded this with savings.

“As a potential homebuyer, these results suggest that supply won’t be improving in the near term, which makes it essential to understand what you can comfortably afford within your budget, and work with an advisor before you start looking at homes to have appropriate financing options in place,” says Carissa Lucreziano, Vice-President, CIBC Financial and Investment Advice.

“It’s a positive sign that many homeowners are using cash versus debt to fund renovations – we’re seeing prudent financial behaviour from this group. But whether you’re looking to sell or buy a home, or invest in renovations, these are big decisions that would benefit from the advice of a financial expert.”

Renters continue to be outpriced
For renters, the story has also been more of the same. Half (47 per cent) say they are still unable to own a home due to housing prices, with 34 per cent citing an inability to save for a down payment as the major hurdle. Many (66 per cent) say low interest rates due to COVID-19 have not motivated them to look at purchasing a home with the majority (91 per cent) saying the pandemic has not impacted their ability to pay rent.

Of those who co-habit with family or others, 46 per cent have no immediate plans of moving out, but close to a third (32 per cent) are saving for a down payment.

A lack of knowledge when it comes to purchasing a home may be contributing to the hesitancy of some potential homebuyers:  Four-in-ten (41 per cent) of all the respondents admit they need help understanding all of the costs associated with home purchasing, and a similar number (37 per cent) need guidance on  obtaining a mortgage in the current environment. A quarter of Canadians (27 per cent) say the fear of a recession/economic uncertainty is impacting their decision to buy or sell a home and 31 per cent claim they will only be able to afford a home with an inheritance or gift from their family.

“It appears for those looking to get into the housing market, financing and a lack of understanding remains an issue. With the help of an advisor, you can get an assessment of your financial capacity for a clear picture of what you can afford as a new homebuyer to achieve the ambition of homeownership,” added Ms. Lucreziano.

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The Rule Of 3 When Buying A Home (VIDEO)





When it comes to buying a home, there are many factors to consider and the decision is likely not going to be an easy one.

In this episode of All Things Money (ATM), host Nicole Victoria provides her advice for being successful with regards to purchasing a property.

One major component the Money Coach highlights is the importance of separating what is nice to have against what is a must-have.

In order to help navigate the tradeoffs, Victoria utilizes a rule-of-three system, using the factors of price, size and style, and location where “what the rule says is that you get to be sticky on two out of those three things.”

For more on this and other money-related tips and advice, check out the full ATM series here.

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