Stephanie Peat DFH Real Estate - Sidney

Office 250-656-0131 | EMAIL info@stephaniepeat.ca |

 

 

February 2018

 

A total of 431 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this January, 9.8 per cent fewer than the 478 properties sold in January last year. The sales of condominiums were down 30.6 per cent from last year in January – with 118 sold. Single family homes were 4 per cent down from the previous year, with 215 selling in the first month of 2018.

 

“We expected January to be a bit slower after the increase in activity we saw in November and December, which was likely due in part to buyers entering the market early to avoid the new mortgage stress test,” says 2018 Victoria Real Estate Board President Kyle Kerr. “We have yet to see the full effect of the stress test, as many people attained a 90 -120 day pre-approval before the test became required January 1. We won’t know how much that stress test will affect the spring market until we see the numbers, and spring is also the time when sales traditionally pick up.”

 

There were a total of 1,491 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of January 2018, an increase of 7.7 per cent compared to the month of December and 1.6 per cent fewer than the 1,516 active listings for sale at the end of January 2017.

 

“2017 concluded with very constrained inventory levels, which hit record lows early in January. The lack of inventory in our market is maintaining pressure on pricing, especially as high demand continues in many areas of Victoria,” adds President Kerr. “We can also see the effects of headwinds influencing our market in 2018, including attempts to curb demand at all levels of government. The mortgage stress test is the latest to be introduced, and we may learn of further measures later this month when the provincial budget is released. We hope the government takes a balanced approach to our housing market in their budget and offsets any further demand-side measures with initiatives aimed at addressing the ongoing supply shortages for both home buyers and renters. We also encourage our local governments to take some time to assess the effects of demand-side measures like the mortgage stress test and recent interest rate hikes before introducing further restraints on our market.”

 

The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in January 2017 was $761,100. The benchmark value for the same home in January 2018 increased by 9.3per cent to $831,900, slightly higher than December’s value of $823,800. HPI benchmark valuefor a condominium in the Victoria area in January 2017 was $375,300. The benchmark value for the same condo in January 2018 increasedby 20.1 per cent to $450,600, which is slightly higher than December’s value of $445,000.

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Your neighbourhood has a lot of features that can help sell your home faster. Unfortunately, buyers don’t usually notice those features just by driving around. So, you need to make sure they get all the information they need about your neighbourhood.


For example, say homes don’t go on the market often in your area. That’s an indication that the quality of life in the neighbourhood is so good that no one wants to leave! In real estate we measure the area’s “turnover rate”, and it’s handy data to have when listing your home.


Another bit of data that buyers can’t simply see is the local crime rate. But, most police departments keep those statistics. If your neighbourhood has a low crime rate, that’s an obvious plus to sellers.


Demographic data can also be helpful when selling your property. If your neighbourhood has a lot of families, for example, that’s going to be appealing to buyers with kids.


Even local development plans can play a role in making your home more attractive to buyers. If a new ramp to a major highway is in the works nearby, getting to work is going to be easier. That’s a big benefit to commuters.


Other types of data that can help sell your home include:


• Planned local construction.
• Proposals for neighbourhood improvements. (For example, a new playground.)
• Rates at which local property values are increasing.


Any information that shows the advantages of living in your area is going to be useful when selling. By the way, this is the kind of information I put together to provide to prospective buyers when selling your home. Contact me today.

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A total of 462 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this December, 1.9 per cent fewer than the 471 properties sold in December last year.


A grand total of 8,944 properties sold over the course of 2017, 15.8 percent fewer than the record breaking 10,622 that sold in 2016. 2017 sales came in at 21.7 per cent over the ten year average of 7,349 properties sold.


“Early in 2017 we discussed how the Victoria area housing market would be different than the record breaking year we had in 2016 and that over the course of the year we’d probably see a gradual return to a more balanced market. We did see evidence of this change come early in the year, as multiple offers and rapid price increases leveled out,” says Victoria Real Estate Board President Ara Balabanian. “However, the ongoing low inventory of properties for sale meant that buyers continued to experience competitive situations in high demand areas, and multiple offers were still a common occurrence as buyers negotiated in a tighter market. What we couldn’t anticipate were outside factors such as changes to mortgage qualifying rules that may have pushed people into the market early. The pending mortgage stress test in particular is likely to have caused much of the increased activity we’ve seen in November and December.”


There were 1,384 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of December 2017, a decrease of 21.5 per cent compared to the month of November and 7.3 per cent fewer than the 1,493 active listings for sale at the end of December 2016. This is the lowest level of inventory for the area in the month of December since the statistic was tracked in 1996.


The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in December 2016 was $753,900. The benchmark value for the same home in December 2017 has increased by 9.3 per cent to $823,800, and is slightly lower than November’s value of $824,600.


“Overall, the low inventory and the continued interest in Victoria real estate meant that well-priced homes were quick to sell in 2017. Moving forward, we expect to see more inventory come into the market, which will continue to move us toward a more balanced state,” adds President Balabanian. “We also expect housing prices to remain stable, without the increases we tracked in 2016, and anticipate steady slow growth. In markets like these, it’s important to enlist the services of a REALTOR® to help you navigate what may be your largest transaction ever.”

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Have you ever considered renting out a room to a student or renovating your basement into a self-contained rental apartment?


It’s a big decision. There are many pros and cons to consider.


On the pro side, renting can provide you with additional income. An extra few hundred dollars a month can go a long way towards paying down your mortgage or splurging on an exotic summer vacation.


Creating rentable living space in your home — for example, an “in-law suite” featuring a kitchenette and bathroom — may also increase your property’s market value.


On the con side, you’ll have more costs and responsibilities as a landlord. For example, you might need to purchase extra insurance because basic home insurance policies typically do not cover rental units, even if you’re just renting out a room. You’ll also be responsible for dealing with repairs sometimes in the middle of the night.


Also, if you’re not careful about the renter you choose, you might end up with a “problem tenant”. For example, you could have a tenant who is consistently late on rent payments or simply stops paying. That can be stressful.


If you’re deciding whether or not to rent, be sure to check local laws and regulations. Many jurisdictions have very strict rules regarding renting out space in a residential property, and those rules change frequently. Make sure you get the latest information.

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Preparing your home to list in the Spring? Here are some great pre-listing tips to get you started..


As a general rule of thumb all properties will directly benefit from the following pre-listing improvements:


Repairs: Any small repairs that are necessary should be attended to prior to listing the property. Go through the subject property critically and take care of all the things that have not been done. We often get used to little annoyances like a squeaky door or hard to open cabinet doors. We often don't notice rusty house numbers or a wobbly fence, but the buyers will! You can hire a handyman or go at it yourself and do these things before you consider putting your house on the market. Buyers look for homes that have been well maintained inside and out.

 

Paint: Get a good quality paint and go over the inside of the home. It makes a big difference and makes the property look fresh and well cared for. If the exterior needs a touch up, it's worth it to have that painted as well. Choose light neutral colors for paint.

 

Landscaping: Take a critical look at the yard. If you need inspiration, go to a new home development to see what the pros do with landscaping. Also check pintrest or on-line sources. It doesn't have to cost a fortune to pull out shrubs or plants that are not thriving and replace them with nice new ones. Focus on the areas that are immediately around entry points to the home, walkways and entrance areas. These are the areas that will be most noticeable to buyer’s. Use ground cover around the new plants in the flowerbeds and add seasonal flowers to unify the space. Water the lawn and add seed to refresh it if it’s patchy.

 

Clutter: We all have lots of stuff! Remove any and all non-essential items from the house. Pack away, "knick-knacks," collections, family photos and all furniture that is not absolutely necessary. Less is more inside the home and gives buyers a chance to envision themselves living there. This also helps you to get some of the pre-packing done before moving day comes.

 

While the above is general advice about preparing a property for sale, each home does have its own set of unique circumstances. Before listing, my professional home stager and I will create an additional staging plan tailored to your specific property to help it show it off in it’s most favorable light once. We want don’t want you to spend time or money unnecessarily on the preparation. Our plan can help you pinpoint the critical improvement areas that will create high return on investment and improve the overall marketability of the property.

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December 1, 2017 - A total of 671 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this November, 12 per cent more than the 599 properties sold in November last year.

 

“We suggested last month that some buyers may accelerate their purchase timeline to buy a new home in anticipation of the mortgage stress test on uninsured buyers - those with a down payment of 20 per cent or more – that will come into effect on January 1,” says Victoria Real Estate Board President Ara Balabanian. “Judging by the sales we saw in November and what I have heard from our REALTOR® members, some buyers have indeed accelerated their purchasing plans to avoid the stress test. This may change the numbers we see in the early months of 2018, as some buyers who had planned to buy next year have bought a bit earlier.”


There were 1,764 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of November 2017, a decrease of 7.4 per cent compared to the month of October and 2.8 per cent fewer than the 1,815 active listings for sale at the end of November 2016.

 

The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in November 2016 was $748,500. The benchmark value for the same home in November 2017 has increased by 10.2 per cent to $824,600, which is slightly higher than October’s value of $821,900.

 

“So was this November a record breaker?” asksPresident Balabanian. “While not a record, it is the highest November sales count we’ve tracked since 1996. It is also rare that we see November numbers beat October numbers.The fact that we’ve had an unusual month does not necessarily mean that this is the start of a new trend, it is however, a good example of how outside forces can impact a housing market. It’s likely there will be more government-led change in the new year and we’ll report on the effects of those changes on the market. Our hope is that the different levels of government coordinate their efforts to avoid a negative compounding effect on the market.”

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Imagine you were selling your car, and a prospective buyer was on the way over to see it. What would you do? You would probably make your vehicle look as clean and shiny as possible, inside and out.


The same holds true if you’re selling your home and there’s a potential buyer on the way. You want the buyer to be wow’d by your property. Here’s a handy checklist to follow:


• Clean every room. Make your entire house look as “guest ready” as possible.
• As much as is feasible given the time, reduce clutter. Consider packing some items into boxes and storing them in the basement or garage.
• Get pets out of the house. You can take them for a walk, have a neighbour watch them, or take them to a good kennel.
• Turn on the lights, even during the day. You want each room to look bright.
• If there are any maintenance issues, such as a dripping faucet, let your Realtor know. Often, it’s best for buyers to be told rather than discover such issues themselves.
• Open the curtains, except in those rooms where the sun will be uncomfortably strong during the viewing.
• Move your vehicles from the driveway so the buyer can park there. (That can help them imagine living there, which is what you want!)
• Make sure your foyer is especially clean and uncluttered. It’s the first “room” the buyer visits.
• Avoid cooking just before a viewing. Even if the meal is wonderful, the aroma may linger. (Some people don’t like the smell of certain dishes, such as fish.)
• Freshen up the outdoor space. Mow the lawn. Sweep the walkway.


This viewing checklist will help you prepare your home quickly, so when the buyer comes in your front door, there’s a much better chance he or she will be impressed.

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Hopefully, this will never happen to you. But, there are circumstances – a fire, for example – when you and your family would need to exit through a window.


It pays to be prepared for that eventuality.

 

Your first step is to determine which windows are safe to use as an exit. There should be at least one on each level.

 

The windows you select will need to provide enough space for a person to climb through (at least a 20 inch opening). Make sure everyone knows which windows are “safe exit” windows, and how to open them. Keep in mind that windows may have screens, so ensure everyone knows how to remove those as well.


For a second floor window, consider purchasing a portable escape ladder. These are compact and easily stowed in a closet or under a bed. When you need it, it hangs off the sill and expands into a ladder all the way to the ground. It’s not designed for everyday use, but it will get you and your family out!


Rehearsal is a good idea. You want everyone to know how to get to the nearest “safe exit” window – especially in the dark.


Finally, keep your windows in a good state of repair. According to the fire safety experts, windows should open easily for everyone, and should not have anything in front of them that will prevent or delay a quick exit.

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Buyers are using the internet to search for properties more than ever before. In some cases, they can even go on a “virtual” tour of a home using their smartphone or desktop computer. So, you might be wondering if the old-fashioned Open House still works these days?


The answer is yes. Otherwise, you wouldn’t see them advertised. If Open Houses didn’t work, no one would be doing them!


No matter how good the internet gets, it can’t compete with a buyer being able to visit a property in person, walk through the rooms, stand in the backyard and imagine himself BBQ-ing with his family, stroll the area, and meet neighbours.


An Open House makes it easy for buyers to do just that.


It’s an open invitation for them to come by at a specific date and time, to see the property and chat with the REALTOR®. It’s a casual environment, which many buyers prefer. Some buyers, in fact, are more comfortable going to an Open House before scheduling a private viewing.


Will you need an Open House to sell your home?


That depends on a lot of factors. When I work with clients, I put together a marketing plan designed to sell the property quickly and for the best price possible. Depending on the circumstances, that may or may not include an Open House.


If you have questions about what would be involved in a quick and successful sale of your home, contact me. I’d be happy to chat and answer your questions.

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November 1, 2017 A total of 664 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this October, 9.7 per cent fewer than the 735 properties sold in October last year.

"As expected, we saw fewer sales than this time last year," notes Victoria Real Estate Board President Ara Balabanian. "Looking at the longer term picture however, sales last month were 17.1 per cent above the ten year average of 567 properties for the month of October, so the market is still very active here in Victoria, and this is in spite of the ongoing low inventory levels."

There were 1,905 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of October 2017, a decrease of 3.6 per cent compared to the month of September and 1.7 per cent fewer than the 1,938 active listings for sale at the end of October 2016.

The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in October 2016 was $752,000. The benchmark value for the same home in October 2017 has increased by 9.3 per cent to $821,900, but is lower than July's value of $834,200.

"The fact that we've seen such a controlled levelling off in the market directly following a year which felt so uncontrollable in terms of demand and pressure on prices illustrates the depth and stability of the Victoria market. An unstable market may have experienced a heavy correction or shift, whereas in our market sales are moderating at a reasonable rate." adds President Balabanian. "In the coming months we expect to see less inventory on the market, because the year end changes buyer and seller behaviours, their focus shifts to holidays and winter weather. One unknown influence that may play on the winter market is the upcoming mortgage stress test. Some buyers may move their purchasing timelines forward to make their home purchases before the stress test on uninsured buyers (those with a downpayment of 20 per cent or more) becomes required January 1."

About the Victoria Real Estate Board - Founded in 1921, the Victoria Real Estate Board is a key player in the development of standards and innovative programs to enhance the professionalism of Realtors. The Victoria Real Estate Board represents 1,364 local Realtors. If you are thinking about buying or selling a home, connect with your local Realtor for detailed information on the Victoria and area housing market.

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You never want to smell smoke in your home and realize there’s a fire. That’s why it is important to be diligent about fire safety. Experts recommend that homeowners be especially careful with the following common household items:


• Portable heaters. Never leave one in a room unattended. Make sure paper and other combustible materials are well away from these units.


• Electronics chargers. We all want our computers, tablets and smartphones to charge quickly. The price we pay for that convenience is chargers that pull in a lot of power, making them very hot. Keep them away from combustible material, as well as other wiring.


• Smoking materials. Be careful with cigarettes, pipes, cigars and other such
items. Bedding and upholstery, which burn slowly and dangerously, are the
source of 75% of smoking-related fires.


• Candles. Never leave candles unattended for any reason. If you must leave the room, extinguish them.


• Flammable liquids. These can include paints, thinners and some brands of
cleaning products. Read labels carefully and follow the safety instructions.


To paraphrase a famous expression: An ounce of prevention is worth not
having to deal with a house fire.

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Oct 2, 2017


A total of 640 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this September, 18.1 per cent fewer than the 781 properties sold in September last year.


“We can certainly feel the difference in the current market when we compare to last year’s record breaking numbers. Last year the pace of the market was intense, there was a lot of pressure on pricing and demand,” notes Victoria Real Estate Board President Ara Balabanian. “Now the tempo of the market is trending slowly – very slowly – towards more balanced conditions. Recently we’ve seen overall price increases level out, which can indicate slightly less demand, and inventory is building.”


There were 1,976 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of September 2017, an increase of 3.1 per cent compared to the month of August and 4.1 per cent fewer than the 2,061 active listings for sale at the end of September 2016.


The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in September 2016 was $742,200. The benchmark value for the same home in September 2017 has increased by 10.9 per cent to $823,100.


“Simply because we’ve seen sales drop from last year is not dire or unexpected news for our local real estate market.” adds President Balabanian. “The ten year average for sales in September is 573 properties and the month exceeded that average by more than ten per cent, which indicates we’re still in an active market. And of course there are neighbourhoods that are still tracking up in terms of value from last year. It’s for reasons like these that now more than ever it makes sense to seek the assistance of a local REALTOR® to sell or buy your home.”

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Is selling your property the furthest thing from your mind? Well, here are some reasons for listing your property that you might not have considered.


1. Your property may be worth more than you think. (It’s difficult to determine market value on your own. I can calculate it for you. Give me a call.)


2. You might qualify for a better home than you anticipate.


3. Perhaps you are tired of your current property and want a change.


4. There may be homes on the market in a neighbourhood in which you’ve always wanted to live.


5. Your current property may no longer meet your needs.


6. Your neighbourhood may have changed in ways you don’t like.


7. You might be ready to downsize or upsize and you no longer want to put that off.


8. You may want to sell in the fall, so you can have a fresh start in a new home in the new year.


9. Depending on the type of home you’re considering, you could end up with lower mortgage payments or no mortgage at all.


10. You might want to move to a home that’s more conveniently located near work, family and hobbies.


Of course, you may have your own reasons for listing this month. Why not discuss them with a real estate expert? Me. I can answer your questions and explain the options available to you.

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You’re at work when the thought hits you, “Did I lock the door when I left this morning?” You check your smartphone, see that you didn’t, and click the “LOCK” button. Now your house is secure.


That’s home automation for you!


But, is home automation a good idea? That  depends on a number of factors.


On the pro side, home automation can improve your quality of life. There are automation products that will adjust heating/cooling depending on whether or not you’re home, make your morning coffee when you get out of bed, and the list goes on and on. These conveniences save you time.


Home automation can also give you peace-of-mind. It’s comforting to be able to remotely see the inside of your home and check that everything’s okay.


Home automation can also make your property more appealing to buyers. Traditionally, buyers like homes with security systems, and will appreciate other automation gizmos, too.


The only downside is the cost. Like most new technology, home automation products can be pricey and may become out-of-date within just a few years.


Thinking about it? Experts advise you to do your research first. Check out product reviews online. Then, if you determine that a particular product is going to benefit you, go for it!

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Sept 1, 2017


A total of 736 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this August, 16.6 per cent fewer than the 883 properties sold in August last year.


“I admit to being a little surprised by the August numbers,” notes Victoria Real Estate Board President Ara Balabanian. “I expected inventory numbers to be climbing by now, but instead we’ve seen even lower numbers of listings on the market. This is likely leading to some buyer fatigue along with pressure on pricing in high demand areas.”


There were 1,917 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of August 2017, a decrease of four properties compared to the month of July, and 8.5 per cent fewer than the 2,094 active listings for sale at the end of August 2016.


The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in August 2016 was $743,200. The benchmark value for the same home in August 2017 has increased by 10.8 per cent to $823,100.


“Though much too early to call a trend, we do see that the August HPI benchmark value for single family homes in the Victoria Core area has decreased by 1.3 per cent when compared to July. This is the first time we’ve noted a decrease in HPI values since August 2015.” adds President Balabanian. “That said, this is not an indicator of a huge change in property values across our region. We’ve seen a phenomenally busy two years in real estate for our area and we are likely heading towards a period of more balanced activity. Note too, that though the overall HPI value shows a small month over month decrease – specific areas and specific types of product have seen increases. For example, condominiums across the entire region are up by half a percent compared to the previous month and single family homes in North Saanich have increased in benchmark value by almost one per cent. It’s for reasons like these that now more than ever it makes sense to seek the assistance of a local REALTOR® to sell or buy your home.”

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You might naturally assume that it is most important to talk to a Realtor when you’re selling or buying a home. But there are many other circumstances in which it makes sense to give me a call. Here are a few examples.

 

 

 1. When you’re at the “thinking about it” stage

If you’re just thinking about selling your home, and haven’t made a firm decision yet, you might feel uncomfortable calling a Realtor. Don’t be. In fact, I welcome your call. We can discuss what your current property will likely sell for on today’s market, and determine the type of home you qualify to buy. That way, you’ll have some clarity and be able to make a more informed decision.

2. If you’re nervous about the selling process

 If you haven’t sold a home before, you might be concerned about what’s involved in the process. You might even worry that putting your home on the market is going to be a lot of work and create a lot of turbulence for you and your family.


Fortunately, selling your home doesn’t need to be scary. In fact, a big part of my job as a Realtor is to make the process as smooth and trouble-free as possible.


So if you have concerns about selling your home, you should give me a call.

3. If you have questions

You likely have questions about the local real estate scene from time to time. You might have questions like: “How much did that home around the corner sell for?”; “Is now a good time to make a move, or should I wait until the market changes?”; and, “How much is my current home worth?”


When you have questions like those, you don’t need to dig for answers on your own. You can give me a call. As an expert in the local market, I can give you the answers you need.

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According to a recent study, the average homeowner pays more attention to kitchen stove safety than they do BBQ safety. But, the fact is, a BBQ mishap can be just as devastating. So, it pays to know the latest safety tips.




  • Keep BBQs at least 8 feet away from your house.
• Check for venture tube blockages regularly. (Spiders are notorious for spinning webs in there.)
• Clean the grill frequently to prevent flare ups. A grease fire on the grill can continue burning even after you’ve turned the BBQ off.
• Don’t position your BBQ close to foliage, such as under a tree or next to shrubs.
• Never BBQ in an enclosed area, such as a garage, even if the space is well ventilated.
• Avoid leaving the grill unattended, especially when cooking greasy foods such as sausages, beef burgers or steaks.
• Do not let children BBQ.


Finally, make sure your BBQ is turned completely off after use. It’s a good idea to double-check this when making the rounds and locking up your home for the night.


Experts say you should treat a BBQ as you would a camp fire — with care.

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Aug 1, 2017- “The activity level in the Victoria real estate market continues to be brisk, though we always expect a slow down in the summer months,” says 2017 Victoria Real Estate Board President Ara Balabanian.“This July,we saw a strong focus on the lower priced end of the market, with condos and townhomes and single family homes listed for under $700,000 in high demand. Many of those properties saw multiple offer situations.”


A total of 790 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this July, 18.7 per cent fewer than the 972 properties sold in July last year.


“The ten year average for sales in July is just over 700 properties,” adds President Balabanian. “So the numbers from last month illustrate an ongoing demand for homes in Victoria. We anticipated at the beginning of the year that we would see another busy market - without the record breaking numbers we saw in 2016 – and we are seeing exactly that. The surprise has been the low inventory levels, with listings for sale consistently below 2,000. The good news is that compared to the start of the year we have 26.7 per cent more listings on the market, but that supply is still lower than we expected, which puts pressure on pricing and availability.”


There were 1,921 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of July 2017, an increase of 0.3 per cent compared to the month of June, but 11.1 per cent fewer than the 2,161 active listings for sale at the end of July 2016.The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in July 2016 was $737,800. The benchmark value for the same home in July 2017 has increased by 13.1 per cent to $834,200.

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Imagine this scenario...


You purchase a new home and move in. A few weeks later, you hear a strange rumbling sound. It’s the furnace. It’s only a year old, yet it’s sputtering like it’s twenty. You realize you’ll have to call in an HVAC contractor to get it fixed.


You’re thinking, “Ouch! This is going to be expensive.”


Well, maybe not. You see, since that furnace is relatively new, it might be covered by its original warranty — even for you, the new owner.


But a warranty is useless if you don’t know it exists.


Recent studies suggest that upwards of 50% of people pay to get items fixed that were actually covered by a warranty. So, when purchasing a new home, be sure to ask this simple question: “What warranties do you have for items, materials or workmanship in this house?”


Warranties are common on new stoves, fridges, washers, dryers and other big ticket appliances. Some such warranties are transferrable, which means they are still in force when the items pass from one owner to another.


Even less expensive items, such as electronic thermostats and automatic garage door openers, may be covered by a transferrable manufacturer’s warranty.


If the home you’re purchasing is relatively new (say, less than 10 years old), the builder’s warranty may also still be in force. That can be handy if a structural problem arises.


Even recent renovations, may have come with a labour and/or installation warranty of some kind.

 

As you can see, warranties are everywhere! The more you’re aware of them, the more you’ll save when something needs repair or replacement.

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If you want to transform a room into something that’s functional, beautiful and perfectly matched to your taste, then you might want to hire an interior designer.


It’s an interior designer’s job to come up with imaginative ideas that will wow you.


It’s a myth that interior designers just deal with paint colours, décor and furnishings. In fact, according to the Interior Designers Institute, these professionals have the training needed to handle all aspects of a renovation or remodeling project, including selecting and managing contractors. They can direct a project from beginning to end.


If you want to renovate your basement into a stunning home theatre and gathering place, an interior designer can:


• Draw out several concepts for you to choose from,
• Purchase the best building materials,
• Hire the contractors, and
• Manage the project.


He or she can even pick out classic movie pictures for the walls!


There are many professional associations that have “Find an Interior Designer” links on their websites. In Canada, check out the Interior Designers of Canada (www.idcanada.org).

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