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Prep your bathroom the right way with these 5 professional home staging tips

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Photo by WBM, designed by Redesign4more

It’s a well-known fact that kitchens and bathrooms sell houses, and experts often recommend investing in these areas to increase your home’s value. In part one of our series, professional home stager Red Barrinuevo of Redesign4more gave us his top tips on preparing a kitchen for an open house. This time we’re focusing on bathrooms — from small two-piece powder rooms to expansive, spa-like ensuites, bathrooms play an important role in selling your home, so you’re going to want to make sure it shines.



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Photo by WBM, designed by Redesign4more

1. Clear out your personal hygiene products

As one of the most heavily used rooms in the home, it’s easy for clutter — including personal hygiene products — to accumulate on counters, shelves and bathtubs. “When selling, clear every surface of all your daily care products,” says Barrinuevo. “Leaving these items in sight can distract buyers, as they start to look at your lifestyle instead of the room.”

To help you organize, Barrinuevo suggests providing every member of the household a small tote or wicker basket to store personal items. “Keep the usual toiletries in these baskets (in a separate room) and only take them to the bathroom when needed,” says Barrinuevo. “This will help keep your bathroom clutter-free while your house is on the market.”



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Photo by WBM, designed by Redesign4more

2. Replace shower curtains

Shower curtains are a common spot where mold and mildew can grow, especially along the bottom section that touches your tub. When replacing your shower curtains, Barrinuevo recommends using a neutral colour to achieve a spa-like feel. “Go with a white or neutral fabric and avoid using patterned or themed curtains because they can overwhelm an already small space.”



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Photo: James Bombales

3. Inspect your tile and grout

If the grout in your bath or shower has cracked or begun to fall out, you may want to call in a professional tiler to re-grout. But if it’s in fairly good condition, a little TLC may be all that’s needed. “If your bathroom tiles and grout are in excellent condition and the color works, give them a thorough scrub to remove built-up grease and grime,” says Barrinuevo. “If the grout is in good condition but discolored, grab some protective goggles and gloves and use good old bleach, a toothbrush, or a grout pen to restore its whiteness.”



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Photo: James Bombales

4. Accessorize (and de-accessorize)

Like your mother’s special “guest” towels that never get used, Barrinuevo suggests buying your own set to stage your bathroom. “You can never go wrong with clean, crisp white towels,” says Barrinuevo. “If you have the counter space, add apothecary jars in different shapes and sizes filled with shells, cotton balls, or bath salts to accessorize.” A basket filled with rolled-up towels also makes a bathroom feel warm, inviting and spa-like.

Bath rugs, however, are not so spa-like. “Never use the rugs that fit around the base of the toilet — you know, the ones that come with a matching decorative toilet seat cover,” says Barrinuevo. “It looks dated and it’s not hygienic.”



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Photo by WBM, designed by Redesign4more

5. Make sure it is impeccably clean

Last, but certainly not least, give your bathroom a good wipe down and make sure everything is sparklingly clean, including taps, cabinets and mirrors. “Polish everything that is supposed to be shiny and scrub watermarks, soap scum and any stains in the sink, toilet and tiles,” says Barrinuevo. “Re-caulk the tub if necessary and don’t forget to clean hard to reach areas behind the toilet and under the sink.”

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Covid-19 altering Canadians’ housing needs: RBC

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Amid a pandemic-driven shift in demand as well as a surge in new listings, the Canadian housing market remained strong in August, RBC Economics reports.

Citing preliminary data from local real estate boards, RBC said that markets in many areas of the country remained “red hot” in August.

“But the bigger story might be that Covid-19 is now prompting more people to sell,” the report said, noting that new listings surged in urban centres such as Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver.

“We think this in part reflects the pandemic altering the housing needs of many current owners — who are opting to move, something they might not have considered just a few months ago,” it said.

RBC noted that the Toronto market saw new listings jump 57% year over year in August, powering a 40% increase in home sales.

Sales were up more than 20% from July’s near-record levels, it said.

“Clearly, [that] market has fired on all cylinders this summer, making up for the major disruption caused by Covid-19 in the spring,” RBC said.

The primary drivers of sales activity and higher prices were low-rise homes, including single-detached homes, RBC reported.

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RBC’s customer base makes it a favourite of cyber attacks – security experts

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Royal Bank of Canada is among the most targeted institutions by cyber attacks due to its broad customer base, according to an analysis by Palo Alto Networks.

From December 2019 up to present, cybercriminals have been establishing malicious pages disguised as websites by major companies to conduct phishing attempts and other similarly invasive attacks.

RBC ranked third in the most spoofed domains list, more than streaming giant Netflix and professional networking portal LinkedIn. PayPal and Apple ranked first and second, respectively.

“When you look at the broad customer base that RBC has, it makes sense, especially when you compare it to some of the other big names,” said Jen Miller-Osborn, deputy director of threat research at Palo Alto Networks. “These attackers are going after [domains] where they can make the most money, so they’re focusing on these organizations that have really broad customer bases because that really ups the number of potential victims.”

In an interview with BNN Bloomberg, Miller-Osborn outlined what consumers should be looking out for to filter our fraudulent emails.

“Typically, the ones that are going to be scam-related are trying to invoke some sort of emotional response,” Miller-Osborn said. “So they might say something like ‘Someone tried to change your password, click here to say whether or not that was you,’ or ‘Click here to confirm this charge on your statement,’ or ‘We’ve locked your account for strange activity.’ Essentially, things that will make people anxious and will make them want to click first, and not take a step back and pause to think, ‘Is that really the kind of email that my bank would usually send?’”

Other red flags include misspellings and basic grammar errors in the message, especially the sender line.

“Attackers try to closely mimic domain names, so you might see the number zero substituted for ‘o’, or a one substituted for the letter ‘l’. Little thing like an extra ‘s’ or ‘c’ in the name. These things, people tend to glance over very quickly and not notice.”

Miller-Osborn said that these measures should be done in concert with the most effective step in deflecting a spoofing attempt: Calling the bank and asking them if the email that they supposedly sent was legitimate.

 

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Queen confirms new home at Windsor Castle with Buckingham Palace for ‘selected events’

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The Queen will be returning to Windsor Castle in a matter of weeks, with Buckingham Palace only used for ‘select events’.

Her Majesty and her husband Duke of Edinburgh will first spend time privately at Sandringham when they leave Balmoral next week, Buckingham Palace confirmed.

She had been spending summer at her retreat in Aberdeenshire amid speculation that she would not return to the capital amid the coronavirus pandemic.

A spokesperson said: “The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh will depart Balmoral Castle during the week commencing September 14 to spend time privately on the Sandringham Estate.

“Subject to the finalisation of the autumn programme, Her Majesty’s intention is to return to Windsor Castle in October and to resume the use of Buckingham Palace for selected audiences and engagements.

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