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Dan St. Yves: Showing homes in the unforgiving heart of winter | REM





You know, the likelihood of getting stuck in a client’s home in the middle of the summer is probably pretty low, unless you’re wearing a new cashmere blazer and there’s a wet layer of fog lurking outside. Depending on where you work in Canada though, you might just find yourself stuck in someone else’s home in the middle of a blizzard.

I suppose there are a variety of ways that scenario may play out, some with surprising positives, others with considerable downsides. Let’s muse on a few of those possibilities while you are looking out your office window, and a few flakes are already starting to fall ahead of a showing:

You are previewing a home listed by another Realtor, and while the weather had been nasty on the way over, you’re sure you can get in and out before things get even worse. However, you have underestimated the sheer inconsiderate nature of Jack Frost, and the snow is now so bad you can’t open the front door after you’ve previewed the listing.

a) Relax. There’s food and drink, running water, and the owners can’t come home to surprise you as they are stranded elsewhere themselves.

b) You might be okay. The owner’s rottweiler has yet to discover how to chew through the bars in his kennel. That despite the unnerving realization that he has almost bent the bars outwards quite a way whilst angrily charging ever since you first arrived.

c) It might be time to panic. To pass the time, you used the fireplace bellows to pump up the warm glow of some lingering dimming embers, but all that did was propel ash into the air and all over the shag carpeting, which is considerably unforgiving in coming clean given that it was (non-ironically) snow white just a few minutes earlier.

You hadn’t expected to run into anyone while you were previewing this new listing, but one of the owners is indeed home. After a look-around, you both realize that the weather has taken a turn for the worse and there’s no way you can safely try to get back onto the road.

a) Relax! You hit it off while you were viewing the home, and this will allow you to get to know each other even better. It has been pretty slow on your eharmony page lately, after all…

b) You might be okay. While you’re single, the owner is clearly not, but that hasn’t prevented some pretty obvious flirting with you. And at least one comment about how you might feel about trying on some chaps and high heels to kill a little time during the storm.

c) Time to panic! The owner has confessed that he is a wannabe mime who needs to complete three more hours of trying to get out of an invisible box, and “it’s not like you can go anywhere anyhow, right?”

In the brief period of time since you left the office and arrived at this listing, there has been an avalanche from the adjacent mountainside that has covered the entry to the home right up to the roof line.

a) Relax. You’ve discovered the owner’s collection of fine wines and cheeses, and the extensive jazz collection on 180g vinyl ain’t so bad either.

b) You might be okay, although the increasing sagging and slight buckling sound in that roof line could be a concern.

c) Time to panic! You left your partner in the car while you ran in to take a quick look around, and he’s waving frantically at you from the inside of the new location of your car, inside the home’s front exterior wall!

Hey, it could happen! Happy winter selling!


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Real Estate

The cost of renovating your bathroom in Toronto in 2021





Home renovations can be a big task, especially bathroom renovations where you have to work with either an awkwardly shaped space, or one with lots of pipework and very little natural light.

Nonetheless, getting a bathroom renovation by Easy Renovation to change your existing bathroom layout, improve the ambience or add more natural skylights can be worth all the trouble. But determining how much a bathroom renovation would cost is important while setting a budget.

The pandemic has changed a lot of things with social distancing rules, working from home, and for some, being made redundant. Therefore, having a complete grasp of the financial implication of a bathroom innovation is very important.

Owning your dream bathroom can be made a reality and the good thing is, regardless of your financial situation, there are always available options. If you also decide to put up your property for sale in the future, a bathroom upgrade would be a great investment—as it would add significant value to the property. Your bathroom renovation project, like every home renovation, can either be very affordable or extravagant, but one thing is certain, you’re bound to have a more refreshed, stylish and modernistic space.  

Looking through detailed sketches of luxurious and expensive bathrooms can be quite tempting, especially when you’re on a budget. However, your bathroom can be equally transformed into something that looks just as modern, stylish and refreshing but without the heavy price tag.

Conducting a partial bathroom renovation means you only have to change a little part of your existing bathroom rather than tearing it down and starting from scratch. If you intend to carry out this type of bathroom renovation in Toronto, depending on the size of your bathroom, you can spend between $1,000 – $5,000. With a partial bathroom renovation, you can save money by tackling smaller problems that exist in your present bathroom—or you can just upgrade a few of its features.

Partial bathroom renovations are quite affordable and would leave your bathroom feeling new and stylish without being time-consuming or a financial burden—which is important considering the economic impact of the pandemic. Repainting the bathroom walls, replacing the tiles on the floor and in the shower area are examples of partial bathroom renovations which is the cheapest to accomplish.

A more expensive and popular bathroom renovation is the standard 3- or 4-piece renovation. This renovation type involves a lot more services that are not covered by a partial renovation budget. To execute a standard bathroom renovation in Toronto you need a budget of about $10,000 – $15,000.

Unlike with a partial renovation, you would have to make a lot more changes to various elements of your bathroom without the hassle of changing the overall design. You can easily restore your current bathroom into a modernistic and classy space that fits your existing style. Making changes to more aspects of your bathroom is quite easy since there is more room in your budget to accommodate it.

A standard 3- or 4-piece renovation includes everything in a partial renovation plus extras such as revamped baseboards, installing a new bathroom mirror, buying new lights, installing a new vanity, changing the toilet, and buying new shower fixtures.

If you’re one of those looking to make a complete overhaul of your existing bathroom, then the option of a complete bathroom remodel is for you.

Unlike a bathroom renovation, remodelling means a complete change of your current bathroom design and layout for one that is newer and completely unrecognizable. The possibilities when remodelling a bathroom are endless especially when you have a large budget of over $15,000. That way, you can get the opportunity to create the perfect bathroom for yourself.

In addition to all that’s available with a standard bathroom renovation, bathroom remodelling allows you to make bathtub to shower conversion, relocation of plumbing, relocation of the toilet, reframing the bathroom and even relocating the shower.

In conclusion, a bathroom renovation can be a very important upgrade to your home and depending on the features that you decide to include, in addition to the size of your bathroom, this would influence the total cost of the project.

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Real Estate

7 Tips For First-Time Home Buyers In Calgary





Buying a house for the first time can be overwhelming to say the least. If you’re wondering what neighbourhood to go with, what you can afford, or even how to just get started on the process, let us take some stress off your hands! We’ve teamed up with Hopewell Residential to give you 7 tips to ensure the home you end up with is everything you dreamed of.

Hopewell Residential is a five-time Developer of the Year award winner, so their expertise is second-to-none in Calgary and beyond. Who better to learn home-buying tips from than the homebuilders themselves?

Create a checklist of needs & wants

This is a biggie. When you’re buying your very first home, you’ll want to weigh your needs vs. your wants. Ensuring you have what you love in your first home is a big, big deal.

What should you do? Easy. Set up a list of needs and a list of wants, but be pretty strict with yourself, and make sure you take your lifestyle into consideration. With the increase in remote work over the past year, it’s important to keep in mind that a home office or flex room might just be the key to maximizing at home happiness. Especially if you’re thinking you might be expanding your family later on, spare rooms and extra space is key (but more on that later!).

Or for instance, you might need a home in an area with a high walkability score, but you want to be close to certain amenities. Set yourself up with the right level of compromise and the number of homes that actually fit your ‘perfect’ idea will skyrocket.

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Real Estate

‘Don’t give up’: Ottawa Valley realtors share statistics, tips for homebuyers in ‘extreme’ sellers market





The real estate market in the Ottawa Valley can be summed up this way: people from far and wide are in a buying frenzy, but there’s hardly anything to buy at the “store,” and the limited inventory is overpriced.

This “stampede” — as one realtor described it — will affect rural towns as residents grapple with finding affordable housing and agonize over their inability to purchase homes in their price range.

“We are seeing a lack of inventory in all price ranges,” said Laura Keller, a real estate agent from Carleton Place.

Helen Vincent, a Renfrew realtor, said she’s never seen a market like this in her 36 years of practice. “We postpone offers for four to five days in order to get all the buyers,” she said.

Multiple offers — between seven and 10 — became the norm, with cash offers and no conditions, as buyers faced bidding wars. “In Ottawa, they have up to 50 (offers),” she added.

“It’s very stressful. You’re going to get nine (people) ticked off, and one happy. So many people are disappointed,” Vincent said.

Terry Stavenow, an Arnprior realtor for 40 years, said that “the pent-up need took over with inventory going low. It made a stampede on everything that was available.“

“Brand new housing — it’s very much gone. Several building developers are rushing to get inventory. They usually don’t do construction in the winter months,” said Stavenow.

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