Selling your home is an extremely emotional experience. Everyone in the family is deeply involved. Your family home holds many treasured memories.

The big, oak tree in the backyard that held the kids tire swing. The door jam marking the childrens height measurements. Memories of your sweet pets and best friends. All the fabulous birthday parties and Christmas celebrations. The site of the infamous tree fort incident--

I have compiled a few key ideas to help make the process a little less painful.

Find a Real Estate Agent

You will need to do all you can to ensure you find a reputable and experienced real estate agent to handle the sales transaction in a professional way. Making the wrong choice when selecting an agent to handle such a large sale and/or purchase can have disastrous results.

Do research online. Look for reviews, awards and other information on their website. Check out their social media platforms. A strong online presence with a proliferation of online marketing is very important to the success you will experience as their client.

Every agent has their own unique set of skills and experience. Some of your decision will obviously be based on compatible personality traits. Interview several potential agents if necessary. Be sure they have knowledge and experience selling in your community and specific market.

The right agent will help you establish the best listing price which is the first step to a successful sale. Your realtor should be your go to person for everything from staging tips to the names of reputable mortgage brokers and lawyers.

Depersonalize Your Home

You want to create a warm, welcoming home while removing personal items like family photos, awards, toys, toiletries etc. Purchasers will often judge a house by how it makes them “feel.” It is crucial to depersonalize your family home so that any potential buyers can visualize themselves and their family living in the home.


Your qualified real estate agent can identify key features in your home that can be improved upon. Home staging can maximize the selling potential of your home and bring you top dollar.

Impartial expertise is imperative when you want to sell your home faster and come away with the maximum profit. Staging properly can keep your home from looking dated with a few easy and affordable additions. New bed linens, setting the dining room with formal place settings, fresh flowers on the kitchen table and a fresh bowl of fruit on the kitchen island, can make a lovely impression on potential buyers. Upgrade lighting to show your home in the “best light.”

Be sure to stage the exterior of your home and yard too. The garden tools, bikes and toys cluttering the yard will have to go!

Visualize how the virtual tour and other photos will look with your decor. You will need high quality, high resolution photos for online advertising. Your realtor will be able to provide a professional photographer.

Declutter and Deep Clean

First impressions are everything! It starts as soon as the buyers pull up to your home! Create curb appeal with a manicured lawn and garden.

Don't let foul smells, dusty surfaces and dirty floors make a bad first impression on potential buyers. De-cluttering and deep cleaning are the least expensive and most important thing you can do. Your home needs to be pristine throughout the process of selling. Hire professional cleaners if necessary.

Clear the floors of closets and store any excess clothing and shoes to create the look of spaciousness. Clean out overstuffed cupboards and drawers. Adequate storage space will be crucial to selling your house.

Have a garage sale (start by cleaning the garage). Rent a storage unit for everything you will not need on a day-to-day basis. Donate unwanted items to local charities who pick up from your home with no cost to you.

Hire a Professional Painter

You can greatly improve the value and selling power of your home by hiring a professional painter. Many think this is an easy fix that they can do for themselves. On the contrary, you definitely need a professional who can do an immaculate job. Have the front door painted if needed, window and door frames, crown mouldings, base boards and walls. Refresh your home with a light, neutral paint colour to brighten up your whole home. Consult with a professional painter/decorator to give you current colour ideas. It is well worth the cost of having the painting done by a professional. It will richly reward you when you are able to sell your home for top dollar.


Replace outdated, decorative light fixtures. Install new bulbs with the appropriate lighting for specific areas of your home. Ambient, low-key lighting will work best in a master bedroom or living room. Use accent lighting to highlight focal points in a room, such as the artwork above a mantle, puck lighting in closets or halogen strips under kitchen cupboards. Draw the buyers’ attention to how clean and bright your home is. Open all drapes and blinds.

Maintenance and Repair

All maintenance and repair jobs should be completed prior to showing your home. Little things can mean a lot and can make a difference of thousands of dollars in the buyers offer. Make a list; the buyers will. Fix the ugly bathroom calking, the leaky faucet, sticky locks, old hardware, running toilets, cracks in walls, broken appliances, squeaky doors, broken cupboards, stains on the kitchen counter, and loose doorknobs.

Be thorough and objective when observing your environment through the eyes of a potential buyer. They will evaluate how “comfortable” and “at home” they feel as they are viewing the home.Try to appeal to all kinds of people and cultures.

Listing your home for sale could turn out to be the largest financial transaction of your life. Be sure you have the best possible advice and do all the necessary preparation to make the process run smoothly. Wishing you great success!

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Buying a foreclosed home can be a sound real estate investment and a good way to

generate revenue from a rental property. The time is right, because the rental market is

in high demand. But you will want to gather as much knowledge as possible before

venturing into the high risk business of purchasing a foreclosed (or distressed) property.

It will require a higher level of diligence and differs from regular home sales in several

ways. My intention is to help you better understand the world of bank owned properties

in order to avoid some of the pitfalls.

What It Means

Foreclosure removes the right of the home owner to redeem the mortgaged property when they default on the mortgage agreement. When Mortgage Default occurs, the lender will take legal action to protect their security. Once a property is subject to foreclosure proceedings, the court will instruct that the property be listed for sale by the court (a Judicial Sale).

In the case of a foreclosure, when an offer is received, the listing Realtor passes the offer to the lender’s representative. The representative then brings the offer to the court for consideration. When the foreclosure property is listed on the MLS, the listing agent will advertise that property to as many purchasers as possible in hopes of get a suitable offer for the lender.

In BC the courts will ensure the homeowners are protected. The property may still be owner occupied up until the possession date and therefore showing can be limited and difficult due to the nature of the circumstances.

Property in foreclosure in BC is marketed and sold for an amount as close to “Fair Market Value” as possible. Buying a foreclosure could save you money on the purchase price, but rarely does a property sell for less than 20% below fair market value.

Disclosure and Risk

Property being sold in a foreclosure action is purchased “as is where is,” There is no guarantee that the property will be in the same condition on the possession date as it was on the day it was first viewed by the buyer. The buyer is accepting the property “as it is” on the completion date of the sale with no representations or warranties as to the condition of the property.

In a normal non-foreclosure listing, sellers are asked to fill out a Property Disclosure Statement. In a foreclosure, there will be no Property Disclosure Statement and the Schedule A often contains a clause which reads “The purchasers expressly agree that neither the seller nor its agents or representatives have any liability, responsibility, duty or obligation to disclose to the purchasers any information or knowledge that they have with respect to the condition of the lands and premises or any latent or patent defects thereto.”

Sales of foreclosed properties have an increased risk to the buyer, as well as longer wait times for responses to offers and higher deposits.

Buying a foreclosed home at auction

Your highly experienced realtor has done the market research and have discussed the

offer you are both comfortable with. Make sure the offer is not too low or it may be

rejected by the bank. Your offer is also released to the public. Also, a low offer will

encourage more competition. Not advisable!

Make the offer subject to court approval. Both the court and the bank must accept your

offer before a court date will be set. Remember, if there are no subjects on your offer –

you can’t cancel it no matter what. It is imperative that you are present in court and

represented by your Realtor if you should need to negotiate. On the court date all offers

will be presented to the judge and the highest offer is generally the one accepted. A

court order is drafted and the successful candidate will take possession of their

foreclosure sale at an agreed upon date.

Timing the Purchase of a Distressed House

The longer a foreclosure sits on the market, the lower the price a bank will accept. Patience can be the key to saving lots of money! The asking price is often adjusted every 30 days to help generate interest in the property.

Your qualified Realtor can help you gain the necessary understanding of your local foreclosure market and help you distinguish the best time to invest in the market.


Although a distressed house comes at a discount, there are some important factors that you will want to consider before investing.

Many foreclosed homes have been damaged by departing owners in the throws of losing their home to foreclosure. Some homes have sat vacant for months or years, leading to serious maintenance issues. It's extremely important that you get a home inspection in order to understand the condition of the home’s structure: cracks in the foundation, condition of the roof, plumbing and electrical, condition of the appliances, hot water heater, gas leaks and furnace.


A Realtor is a must when it comes to buying a distressed home. Their knowledge and advice will help you avoid some of the mistakes made when purchasing a property. The best part is that all of their services are free to the buyer. The seller, in this case the bank, is responsible for all Realtor fees.

Other fees that you as the buyer are not responsible for include: liens against the home, outstanding property taxes and strata fees. These costs will be cleared off the title at the time of the sale.

You are responsible for the property transfer tax, which is taxed at 1% on the first $200,000 and 2% on anything greater than $200,000 up to $2,000,000. After $2,000,000, the property transfer tax is 3%.

As the buyer, you pay the outstanding portion of the mortgage and all legal fees incurred during the process.

Is a foreclosed home a good investment?

A foreclosed home is a great real estate investment if you understand all of the costs associated with the project. A general guideline is that you should never pay more than 70% of the property’s estimated market value. Instead of looking for cheap homes, look for good value in a foreclosure sale.

The high rate of return and the need for rental properties ensures that your real estate investment will generate revenue! Take advantage of the low mortgage rates as well as the ultra-competitive, low vacancy rate. Act now! It's the best time and the right investment!

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With so many baby boomers already retired, the massive generation born between 1946 and 1964 will be reconsidering their mortgage plan. They will be downsizing to a smaller residence, or stay in the family home and possibly get a reverse mortgage. There are very definite pros and cons to the decision.

A Reverse Mortgageprovides a way for homeowners to access some of the value of their home, while still retaining ownership. To be eligible for a reverse mortgage, you must own a primary residence and be 55 years or older.

It would appear that securing a reverse mortgage would be a very positive decision. The marketing being used to promote the choice is undeniably convincing: You can stay in your home and remain independent. You will enjoy financial freedom in your retirement. Why not renovate your house, travel or give money to your kids? Your home will continue to appreciate in value and offset the interest costs and loss of equity. Right?


  • Payments from a reverse mortgage are tax-free income.

  • income-tested benefits such as Old Age Security or Guaranteed Income Supplement will not be affected.

  • Won't have to repay it until you sell your home or when you or your surviving partner pass away.

  • You eliminate monthly payments.

  • You can repay the loan at any time.

  • The amount you owe can never exceed the value of your property.

  • You and your beneficiaries aren't responsible for any shortfall if interest rates increase and housing values drop.

  • Depending on the provider, funds can be received as a lump sum, regular payments or a combination of lump sum and regular payments.

  • Interest paid on the reverse mortgage is tax deductible if the proceeds are used to earn investment income (interest or dividends).


  • Your home may continue to appreciate in value and offset some of the interest costs and loss of equity. However, interest will rapidly accumulate on the amount you borrow.

  • Providers market the benefit of using a reverse mortgage to bolster your savings and shift wealth from your home to your investments. This form of leverage adds serious risk.

  • Because of the start-up fees and higher rates of interest, reverse mortgages are more costly than conventional lines of credit or mortgages. If you choose to make early payment of all or a portion of the amount borrowed, you could be subject to prepayment penalties.

  • Suffice it to say, borrowing against your home will deplete the amount being passed down to your beneficiaries.

  • Only two companies in Canada offer reverse mortgages: Canadian Home Income Plan (CHIP) and Seniors Money Canada. Many mortgage brokers or Accredited Mortgage Professionals (AMP) will provide information and advice regarding reverse mortgage products. Reverse mortgage providers partner with banks, credit unions, mortgage brokers, financial and investment advisers and other financial professionals who are compensated for providing client referrals.

  • Start-up fees for reverse mortgages can be significant. Start-up fees typically include an application fee, home appraisal fee, and costs for independent legal advice. Fees are deducted from the principle received.You can expect to pay $1,800 to $2,300 for legal and administration fees. $300 to $400 for an appraisal and an additional $300 to $500 for independent legal advice if your lender requires it.

  • The amount you are able to borrow through a reverse mortgage varies dramatically based on location, type of housing, your age and gender, and the amount of your current debt.

Eating the Equity

Unlike a standard mortgage, reverse mortgages are a debt that continues to grow until it consumes the equity in your home. The balance (principle borrowed plus accumulated interest), won't need to be repaid until you sell or pass away. However, the debt can reach a level that the equity remaining will not be enough for you to consider alternative housing. It is imperative that you seek independent legal advice, to ensure you are entering into the agreement freely, without pressure, and that you understand the contract and potential risks.

All costs, advantages, and disadvantages need to be carefully contemplated before entering into a Reverse Mortgage agreement. The amount you can borrow is determined by your age. The younger you are, the less you can borrow. 55 to 60 year old's can only borrow up to 15 per cent of the value of their home, while someone in their 80s can borrow up to 55 per cent.

Valuable Lessons

1) Borrowers need to be aware of the dangers of compound interest. It is great when saving, but extremely costly when borrowing.

2) People who take out reverse mortgages usually have cash flow problems. It's very unlikely they will be able to repay the mortgage early.

3) If you are able to pay down the loan, you could be subject to a prepayment penalty of up to five per cent. This penalty reduces over time and usually disappears after five years.

4) If a married homeowner dies, the contract remains in force until the other spouse dies. If the homeowners end up moving to a care home, the prepayment penalty is reduced by 50 per cent. You can't keep the home, maintain the reverse mortgage, and live in a care home at the same time.

Make an Educated Decision

You need to weigh the pros and cons of a reverse mortgage. You may prefer a conventional mortgage or to sell your home. Make an educated decision on what will be best for you and your family.

If you deal with a broker who offers both conventional and reverse mortgages, you are more likely to get an unbiased opinion.

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Here on the West Coast we have unusually mild weather in the winter months. This year, however, was a little different. We actually had SNOW! It will be necessary to check everything from top (the roof) to the bottom (foundation) to keep your home in top shape.

Inspecting your home and property for damage caused by extreme weather conditions will help to preserve the value of your home. Proper exterior home maintenance improves the appearance of your house and property, and protects your home against further weather damage. When you stay on top of maintenance, you can prevent paying the high cost of a major repair.
Maintenance checklist of things to inspect:

Damaged, loose or missing shingles and flashing or leaks in the roof can cause serious destruction to your home. Call roofing professionals to manage concerns.

Your foundation can be a source of serious water issues in your basement. Check for cracks in the foundation. Inspect the exterior walls for damage. Contact a foundation specialist if you identify issues. Avoid mold, mildew and structural damage.

Gutters and Downspouts
Remove leaves and debris from gutters and downspouts. Inspect your downspouts to make sure they are directing water away from your home. Run a hose on the roof and check for proper drainage.If you have leaks, dry the area and use caulking or epoxy to seal. Check your eves for rodents (squirrels etc.) and wasps, who may have taken up residence.

Doors and Windows
Extended periods of cold weather can cause cracks or harden the caulking around your doors and windows. Replace the deteriorating caulking where needed to help prevent water from getting in. This will reduce your energy bill.
Window and door screensneed to be cleaned and checked for holes that will allow insects into the house. Replace broken or damaged screens and broken hardware. Repair damaged frames.

Inspect chimney for damage.

Exterior Lights and Motion Sensors
Check all Exterior Lights and Motion Sensors to ensure they are functioning properly.

Fence and Deck

Check the condition of your fence and deck. Look for cracked, split boards and unstable areas on the deck that have to be repaired or replaced. Observe any signs of pest damage. Seal or stain your deck and fence if needed.

Siding, Wood Decks, Concrete and Aggregate
Clean Siding, Wood Decks, Concrete and Aggregate with a pressure washer to keep mold and moss from growing. Be aware that it might be wise to hire a professional to do the job. Excessive pressure can damage wooden decks, vinyl siding, stucco or even concrete. Window and door seals need to be protected from leaks. Windows can be broken if they are accidentally hit too hard with spray. 

Outdoor Water Taps and Sprinkler Heads
Remove insulation from outdoor faucets. Turn on the tap and if either nothing comes out or just a little trickle, you will know that you have a frozen pipe. It is best to thaw it by using an electric heating pad or a towel doused in hot water. Leave the faucet open, so that youwill know when the water begins flowing..
Check the garden sprinkler system for leaky valves, exposed lines and improperly working sprinkler heads. 

Waste and Vent System
Drain waste and vent system: Flush out system.

Air Conditioner
Service Air Conditioner and change filter.

Hot Water Heater
Hot Water Heater: Lubricate circulating pump and motor.

Fertilize theLawn. Sharpen the blade on the lawn mower and change engine oil.

Trees and Roots
Trim tree branches that may interfere with power lines. Tree roots can destroy your foundation and drainage around your home if planted to close or roots run too deep.

Patio Furniture and BBQ
Get Patio Furniture out of storage and clean. Clean your BBQ and get your propane tank filled if necessary.
You are now ready to enjoy the long, lovely days of Spring and Summer. Invite friends over, pour the sangria and fire up the grill!

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Step away from that gummy bear and pay attention. You need this information immediately!

We have not been adequately informed with regards to the legalization of growing cannabis in your home. It's important that our clients understand the consequences of making an error in our perception of Canadian laws and real estate.

It’s legal for Canadians to grow cannabis in their homes. But we have not been given the education to make informed decisions about "growing our own."

There has been virtually no information offered in regard to the issues around remediation. Homeowners who grow cannabis and those who rent their properties to tenants that may grow cannabis, are in for a terrible shock when they want to sell their home or property. Lenders’ and insurers’ appear to be reluctant to take a risk on a home where cannabis has been grown.

Cannabis being grown for harvesting, requires a higher threshold of light, water and nutrients than other plants. Cannabis produces a great deal of its own moisture, so growing cannabis could significantly increase the potential for mold in your home.

Cultivating cannabis plants can affect your ability to sell your home

Many lenders and insurers have said they may avoid homes where cannabis has been grown. Because of this, potential buyers might have trouble getting financing or pay higher premiums for home insurance. These factors can impact the purchase price buyers are willing to pay when you attempt to sell your home.

Homeowners are asked to declare whether cannabis has been grown on the property illegally when filling out the Property Disclosure Statement (PDS). If cannabis has been grown legally and this has resulted in a defect, like mold, this must be declared. The PDS has recently been updated to reflect legalization of cannabis.

How will growing at home impact my mortgage?

Some lenders have reported that they will not offer mortgages on homes where cannabis has been grown. A Dominion Lending website reviewed by BCREA notes that as of October 11, 2018, they only had one lender willing to finance such a home (with an additional one per cent premium). This won’t just impact resale prospects; homeowners may face problems when they have to renew their mortgage.

I have insurance that will cover any damage caused by growing at home, right?

No. The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board’s website says this: “The BC Automobile Association (BCAA), which offers home insurance as well as automobile insurance, says home insurance in Canada does not cover any loss if the premises are used for cannabis activities.” That’s not all. BCAA flat-out will not cover any loss to an insured home if the home or another detached structure or property is used to grow cannabis. This applies even if the loss is completely unrelated to cultivation. Homeowners and buyers need to have frank conversations with insurers if they intend to grow at home or buy a property where cannabis has been grown in the past.

Is there a safe way to grow?

There are no guidelines on how to safely grow at home, right now. There are no guidelines on how to remediate a home where cannabis has been grown. BCREA and the province’s 11 regional real estate boards have asked the provincial government to provide peace-of-mind for homeowners and buyers by clarifying what makes a grow home a safe home.

For more information on issues related to cannabis cultivation for homeowners and renters, visit Fraser Valley Real Estate Board’s website:

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Thinking of selling your home this spring/summer? Proper staging can not only sell your home faster, but also help you get the price you want. You will be amazed at how a few changes in the styling of your home, can garner immense results.

1. Boost curb appeal.

This is much more important than many homeowners realize. Most people will judge a book by its cover, without even looking inside. Potential buyers may decide to keep on driving if they are very disappointed with the appearance of the exterior of your home. Power wash the exterior siding, driveway and walkways. Wash windows and paint or stain front door, window frames and porch. Mow the lawn (aerate and reseed if necessary), and plant colourful flowers and shrubs.

2. The front porch.

Placing a new doormat, a couple of potted plants and wicker chairs on your front porch can make your house look more welcoming and homey. Think of leaving porch lights on in the evenings, in case potential buyers drive by.

3. A sparkling clean house.

This seems like it should be a no-brainer, but a dirty house can blow a sale. Don't expect a home buyer to imagine how your house will look after they clean it up. Fresh paint, gleaming windows, shiny floors and freshly scrubbed grout in the bathrooms, will not go unnoticed by potential buyers. If you are finding the housework too overwhelming, consider hiring professionals to do a deep clean. Creating a pristine environment will be well worth the expense.

4. Get rid of the clutter.

Clean and straighten closets, cupboards and floors. Closet space and storage can be a make-it-or-break-it selling point for buyers. You want to create the appearance of space in the eyes of potential buyers. Clutter can take anywhere from 5 to 15 % off the value of your home. Buyers are less inclined to make a high offer on a house that looks messy and cluttered. You may need to rent an off site storage unit or borrow a relatives garage. Box up the items not being used every day. It is worth every penny to rent a storage unit!

5. Small touches.

Now that you've made your house scrupulously clean and de-cluttered, it's time to add a little panache. Vases of fresh cut flowers throughout the house can add a burst of colour and fresh scent. A bowl of lemons or a basket of fresh, mixed produce on the island, counter or on the kitchen table will contribute charm to your home.

6. Dining room.

The dining room can look rather plain when not being used to entertain. Consider setting an elegant, formal dinner table or consider styling your table with three or four small centre pieces on a long table. 

7. Floors.

Have all carpets professionally steam cleaned. If you are lucky enough to have wood floors (a big selling point), but they are a little the worse for wear, think of having them refinished. Small area rugs can be used to enhance the attractiveness of bare wood floors.

8. Living room.

Too much furniture and book shelves running from wall to wall can shrink a room. Create as much floor space as possible. Symmetrical arrangements of furniture work best.
Decorate to draw the eye to the most attractive feature of the room. Whether it's a big window looking over the garden or pool, a handsome fireplace mantle or shining wood floors, don't block the view with furniture.

9. Neutral colors.

To make your home aesthetically pleasing, use current, light colours in paint, carpeting and flooring. Visit show homes to see popular colours. Paint the walls and ceiling the same color to create a sophisticated backdrop.

Having your home professionally painted is the lowest dollar investment with the highest rate of return. A $40 can of paint equals thousands of dollars when you sell. A professional painter can use a sprayer to create a flawless finish.

When adding a pop of vivid colour to enhance your decor, think of using throw pillows, rugs, draperies or a bright coloured chair. Be mindful of how rooms will look in online photos and virtual tours.

10. Lighting.

Lighting will effect all aspects of your home staging. Outdated fixtures will make your home appear older. Upgrade to modern lighting and utilize floor and table lamps to brighten up your rooms. Open all window coverings to take advantage of natural light when showing your home.

11. Bedrooms.

Invest in lush duvets and pillow shams to best showcase the bedrooms (especially the master bedroom). Remove all robes, personal items and laundry. It is vitally important that it smells clean and fresh in the bedroom and bathrooms. Feature tasteful artwork and an attractive throw blanket folded at the foot of the bed.

12. Room designation.

If you have been using a spare bedroom for storage, it’s time to clean it up. That junk room can be a guest room, a kid's room or an office. A dining room being used as a T.V. room may be confusing. An empty room will make it difficult for a potential buyer to visualize the scale of a room. Each room should have a clearly defined purpose.

13. Personal items.

Prospective buyers want to visualize themselves living in your home. Depersonalize your home by removing and storing all photos and put away personal toiletries in the bedrooms and bathrooms when they aren't being used.

14. Odors.

Yes, you heard me. I said it again! I can't emphasize enough, how important it is to avoid having any unpleasant odors in your house. Pets, diapers, garbage, cooking get the idea. Have carpets and rugs cleaned and be extra vigilant about washing all surfaces and garbage cans. If you have pets, they must not be in the house during showings. Be sure to keep the scratching post hotel and doggie toys hidden when tours are scheduled.

15. The backyard lifestyle.

Lovely patio furniture and a built in barbeque or fire pit will score points. A hammock under the trees in the backyard or a bench swing on your patio could be the magic touch.

16. Stage the outdoors too.

Does your condo have a tiny balcony? Style a cute, little café table and chairs, a charming tablecloth, a pretty tray of dishes or a vase of flowers. When people look at this scene, they won’t be thinking “small,” they will be thinking, “What a delightful place to eat breakfast!”

17. Use the Seasons.

Every season has it's charm. Your beautiful spring/summer garden could be a very positive selling point. Building a fire in the fireplace and simmering hot apple cider on the stove will create a cozy vibe in autumn and winter.

Successful staging is very beneficial to your selling experience and extremely profitable. For more great suggestions, contact one of our experienced and knowledgable agents at HomeLife Benchmark Langley.
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You need to know which home renovations add the most value to your home and therefore will provide the best return on investment.

The Appraisal Institute of Canada says that the renovations that generate the highest return on investment are the kitchen, bathroom and interior/exterior painting. Storage space and giving new life to lighting and flooring are also on the list of profitable projects. Here are some interior and exterior remodeling projects that deliver the highest return.

Kitchen Remodel

An updated kitchen can make a significant difference in the value of your home. Invest in fresh, modern cabinetry, under cabinet lighting and counter tops. New faucets, sink, hardware, splash and new, energy-efficient appliances, will greatly increase your homes value. Replace laminate counter tops with granite or quartz. Paint the trim and walls; and replace vinyl flooring with modern flooring.

Options like using existing cabinet boxes and updating with modernized Shaker-style wood panels and drawer fronts will give you a good return on your investment. Using Ikea cabinets can decrease costs if you can't afford custom cabinetry. The visual appeal, size and efficiency of a kitchen can make or break the sale of your house.

Bathroom Remodel

Bathrooms are the second most important rooms and will definitely reflect the age of your home. Give your bathrooms a functional facelift by updating with new cabinets, counters, tubs, showers, toilets, hardware and lighting. The pristine condition of the bathrooms will influence whether or not a potential buyer will feel that your home is move-in ready. Stained counter tops, old grout around the tub, shower and toilet and faded, worn cabinets will give the impression that the bathrooms are not clean. This is an immediate turn-off.

Adding a three-piece bathroom to a bedroom or any other area, can dramatically increase the market value of your home.


The least expensive and easiest way to freshen up your home and make it appear newer, is to have it professionally painted. Everyone seems to think they can paint themselves and save money. No! Hire a good, professional painter. A professional will fill holes and sand imperfections before painting the walls and ceilings. It is well worth the cost to have an immaculate, long lasting application done with quality material.

Professional painters have sprayers that can make surfaces look flawless. Stick with soft colours in neutral tones. Beige, taupe, and soft greys are very current. White is ideal for window casings, crown mouldings and trims. Don't forget to paint and stain battered doors (especially the front door). Always remember the first impression is crucial!


Never underestimate the importance of modern, quality lighting and fixtures. Pot lights are extremely popular for open concept homes. Recessed lighting is practical and elegant. Install dimmer switches on lamps and light fixtures. You can create a soothing mood in the bathroom for a relaxing bath or make a bedroom more romantic. You will be able to control the intensity of light and save energy at the same time. Install under-cabinet light strips in the kitchen, desk area, or workroom. Install can lights to replace older ceiling fixtures.

Install motion sensors to outdoor light fixtures for security purposes. Motion sensors also work well for dark stairs, hallways or bathrooms for safety of movement.


Flooring is one of the most important investments you can make in your home. You will be able to greatly increase the value of your property with the installation of hardwood floors. Wood floors are definitely all the rage right now. Wood floors are much richer and modern looking than carpeting. If you have existing hardwood floors, lucky you! Restored genuine wood floors are more desirable than modern flooring. You can have them professionally refinished to show to their best advantage. Wood, cork, bamboo and ceramic tile are easy to clean and very popular with allergy sufferers and others concerned with dust, pet hair and dander, that become caught in carpet fibre.

Take advantage of the tremendous selection of bathroom and kitchen tiles. With modern technology, flooring can mimic a realistic wood look without the burden of “real” wood maintenance. Marble, slate, granite and limestone make for stunningly impressive foyers and courtyards.

Mortgage Helper Suite

Undoubtedly, the best way to increase the value of your home is to build a mortgage helper suite. The financial stability that a rental property is able to provide will cover part (or all) of the mortgage payment or supplement the buyers income. This bodes well with the bank when buyers are shopping for a mortgage. Converting your basement or garage into a rental suite will increase your home’s value and will greatly increase the number of buyers interested in your property. 

Prioritize the Critical Work

Beyond the aesthetic value that you want to bring to your home, prioritize the most pressing work that will turn out to be a safe investment. Roofing, windows and doors are extremely important. If they need to be replaced, the potential buyers may not be swayed by your new granite counter tops. Many specialists agree that the cost of windows or a roof could return up to 75% of the amount invested.

Take the time to ensure the skills of the people involved in the renovations. They must have the necessary permits and insurance to carry out the work. Keep your receipts (materials, fees, etc.) to prove the date, cost and quality of the work. This will add value when negotiating the sale of your property.

In the end, before undertaking renovations, take the time to plan them out well. Consider the return on investment they will generate. Then, when it comes time to sell your home, you will be able to fully enjoy the economic benefits of your decisions.

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Recently, there are new services being offered to help home buyers and sellers conduct their own real estate transactions. Does this lead you to believe that using a real estate agent is becoming passé?

Doing the work yourself might save you from paying commissions to a real estate agent, but do-it-yourself methods are risky and could end up costing you much more if things go sideways. As in any major financial transaction, it is extremely important to have professional representation when buying or selling a home.

Working with a Real Estate Agent

Real estate agents from HomeLife Benchmark Langley are continuously educated and experienced in acting as liaison between buyers and sellers. Our Higher Standards System guarantees you will receive the ultimate in real estate marketing services. Agents at HomeLife have access to all available properties listed in any area you are interested in. They are skilled in negotiating on your behalf to attain the best possible deal for the home you wish to sell or purchase. Our agents can help you to understand the current housing market and offer valuable advice.

Marketing Professionals

The average person can find it a tremendous burden to attempt to sell their home. They will need to supply the finances for adequate marketing and advertising, have the ability to answer all necessary questions and make appointments for themselves.

Our real estate agents will focus on doing all the research necessary to find the ideal home for buyers, and arrange all showings and advertising for those selling their home.

When you hire a HomeLife™ Higher Standards™  sales representative, you will also enlist an entire team of marketing professionals. We offer you the benefit of all of our combined knowledge and skill for support services that include: Multiple Listing Services, Internet Marketing, Direct Advertising, and Open Houses.


Having decided to sell your home, it is imperative that you make an informed decision about pricing your home properly, based on current market values. This is one of the most crucial points when selling. An experienced agent will prepare a comparative market analysis (this is different from an appraisal). The agent gathers data on recently sold homes near you.  This helps to determine the best selling price. A HomeLife realtor will be able to guide you through the myriad of  decisions that lead to what will be an effective marketing strategy when selling your home. They will also be able to determine the best value, location, amenities, etc., when you are purchasing a home.


No matter how adept you are at communication and negotiation in other areas of business, there are many reasons why a real estate agent can be a much needed buffer between you and the buyer/seller, to act in your best interests. 

Having a professional real estate agent as a “front person” can have a profound effect on the success of negotiations. They can protect you from the critiquing and brashness of a tough transaction that may require a more impersonal, objective approach. The realtor represents you and puts you in a better position to get what you want for the price you want.


The "Offer to Purchase" contract was created to protect you and ensure that you can cancel the contract if certain conditions are not met. Financing for the mortgage, for example, should be a condition of the sale. People have lost their deposit and been sued by the seller for failing to fulfill their contract.

HomeLife realtors are experienced in writing contracts and know exactly which conditions should be used, and when they can safely be removed.

Real estate agents are licensed professionals who will suffer legal repercussions if they fail to represent you honestly. They have a fiduciary duty to act in your best interest. Their business is built on relationships of trust that they build over time with their clients. The agents career will thrive or fail, based on their reputation. Repeat and referral business are their bread and butter.

Legal Considerations When Selling Privately

Independent buyers and sellers working directly with one another, should always seek legal counsel. Each person is going to act in his or her best interest. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that you will be treated honestly and fairly by a buyer or seller in such a major transaction. For instance, misrepresentation of the condition of the house, information about easements and if the house or property has been used for illegal purposes, are not uncommon when realtors are not being used..

Having a lawyer on retainer when buying or selling a home has the potential to cost you a great deal more than a real estate agent's commissions. You really have to protect yourself from fraud.

 While some people do manage to successfully sell their own homes, it is most certainly a gamble. When push comes to shove, it is always advisable, and well worth the investment, to have a reputable, honest, professional working on your behalf.

HomeLife Benchmark Langley has been a leader in the Real Estate Industry in the marketing of residential, commercial and investment properties since 1986.

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