5 Easy-to-Grow, Flowering Plants to Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal

Get your front yard ready for summer.

With warmer weather just around the corner and many of us spending more time at home right now, it’s no surprise we’re looking for ways to spruce up our outdoor spaces—and that includes the front yard. From painting the front door to planting an eye-catching garden, let this be the year you boost your home’s curb appeal.

One element that’s sure to attract compliments from your neighbors: adding flowering plants. But since flowers can be a little more finicky than foliage, requiring just the right amount of light and water, we’ve rounded up several flowering varieties that are surprisingly easy to care for, according to the plant pros at Costa Farms. Choose those that are a match for your area’s hardiness zone (look up your zone here) and you’ll enjoy blooming plants all season, with as little maintenance as possible.

Black eyed Susan plant
Getty Images
Black-Eyed Susan

With its sunny golden yellow petals, this flower will add vibrant color to your front yard. Plus, it’s heat and drought resistant, and does well in sunny spots, so you don’t need to worry about watering. If you have a yard that doesn’t get much shade, this is one flowering plant that can take the heat.

Hardiness zones: 3-9

Daylily blooms in yard
Getty Images

Besides bringing a burst of yellow, orange, and red to your landscaping, the hardy daylily will withstand heat, drought, and even curious pets. Just plant them in full sun, in moist, yet well-drained soil. The big plus: they’re known to bloom from spring until late summer, so your yard will look great all season long. And since they’re perennials, they’ll keep coming back for years.

Hardiness zones: \3-8

Hardy hibiscus plant flower
Getty Images
Hardy Hibiscus

When you want big, bold blooms that will keep coming back year after year, opt for hardy hibiscus (not to be confused with its close relative, tropical hibiscus). Producing large red, white, yellow, and pink flowers, hardy hibiscus shrubs do best in full sun, but can tolerate partial shade. Often admired for their dinner-plate-size blooms, these plants will be the talk of the town.

Hardiness zones: 5-9


Poor soil? Infrequent rain? No problem. The resilient coneflower will thrive despite drought and sandy soil, so long as it gets enough sun. As its name suggests, this flower has a cone-shaped center surrounded by pink, yellow, or orange petals. Bonus: the coneflower also landed on our list of plants that are sure to attract butterflies to your garden.

Hardiness Zones: 3-8

Fluffy pink and purple hydrangea plants
Getty Images

When it comes to show-stopping blooms, the hydrangea bush is a top choice. And luckily, it doesn’t require a ton of care. Choose a spot that gets partial shade, and ideally you’ll want rich, well-drained soil. You’ll want to wait until the fall to plant a new hydrangea (which starts out as a root ball), but it will reward you with big, fluffy blooms each summer.

Hardiness Zones: 4-9

5 Paint Colors That Can Actually Help Your Home Look Cleaner

Paint Colors That Can Make Your Home Look Cleaner

White paint or shades in the white color family such as eggshell and ecru are the standard interior paint colors for a reason. They’re neutral and are guaranteed to work with any style home or decor. While it’s impossible to really go wrong with light paint colors, white paint isn’t necessarily the best choice for every room, though.

A major problem with light interior paint colors is that they have a tendency to scuff. If you have children, pets, or a lot of people coming in and out of your home, the wall paint can end up being difficult to maintain. Kicking off a shoe, moving a piece of furniture, or even trying to install a floating shelf or art can lead to an easily damaged or dirty-looking wall. While Magic Erasers ($7; amazon.com) and touch-up cans are great for regular maintenance, if they become a way of life, it’s time to consider re-painting your walls a different color.

If you find you constantly need to clean your walls, interior designer Alexis Rodgers of Home With Alexis suggests installing wainscoting as an alternative to drywall, in addition to a hardier paint color. “Not only is it easier to clean, but it elevates the areas that may have otherwise lacked architectural interest,” she says. “Wainscoting goes a long way in adding to the appeal of a clean, classic home.”

If wainscoting isn’t an option, the ideal alternative to white paint is a neutral that will help a room look both large and bright. Keep in mind that no matter what interior paint color you use, preparation is key. It’s important to properly prime the wall and apply enough layers of paint. A quality application will not only increase the lifespan of the paint but also make it easier to keep it neat-looking. And once you have your paint color picked out, make sure you’re choosing the best finish. It’s not just the color, but also the sheen, of the paint that determines how clean or dirty your walls look.

No matter where you need to paint, here are five interior paint colors that provide a better alternative than white.

Interior Paint Colors for a Cleaner-Looking Home - Benjamin Moore Aura Intuition
Benjamin Moore Aura Intuition

According to Rodgers, Benjamin Moore’s Aura line is ideal for creating a clean, neat space. “It is a high quality, zero VOC paint line that allows you to choose the crisp, clean look of a matte finish with the ability to clean it when necessary,” she says.

Intuition is a soft, flowery blue that’s good for any room in the home that needs a bit of color without going too bold. It can be particularly pretty in a kitchen.

Interior Paint Colors for a Cleaner-Looking Home - Backdrop Modern Love
Backdrop Modern Love

This color is a muted pink with just a hint of gray. While it is cheerful and has a pop to it, the shade is not overly feminine. Modern Love is perfect for a living room, or even to open up a smaller dining room. Plus, Backdrop makes buying paint easier by delivering everything you need right to your door, and the company is now selling through Urban Outfitters as well.

Interior Paint Colors for a Cleaner-Looking Home - Backdrop West Coast Ghost
Backdrop West Coast Ghost

West Coast Ghost by Backdrop is one of the new brand’s best-selling grays. It’s a great alternative to white because it has cool undertones, is subtle, and won’t overpower the room. At the same time, it has an interesting depth and gives walls character.

Interior Paint Colors for a Cleaner-Looking Home - Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray
Sherwin-Williams Agreeable Gray

The aptly named Agreeable Gray is one of Rodgers’s favorite colors. “Keeping the paint color light and consistent throughout the home makes your space appear neater by giving it airy, seamless transitions from one room to the next. Whether your home gets very little natural light, is flooded with sunlight, or is somewhere in between, it’s a perfect shade of gray with a pleasant, warm undertone,” she says.

While this crowd-pleasing gray is more forgiving than a stark white that reveals every single smudge and fingerprint, it will serve as a neutral backdrop in your space. Then, if you crave more color, add vibrant art and home accents.

Interior Paint Colors for a Cleaner-Looking Home - Benjamin Moore Harbor Gray
Benjamin Moore Harbor Gray

Rodgers also likes Benjamin Moore Harbor Gray: “It is a blue gray that looks great in beach homes and homes that have a lot of natural light.” To make it easier to apply, she suggests diluting this color from 25 to 50-percent of its original formula.

If you have a lot of scuffs on your walls you’re hoping to clean without resorting to a fresh coat of paint, follow our guide to cleaning painted walls.

7 Colorful Kitchens That Will Inspire You to Pick Up a Paintbrush

Beautiful kitchen with green cabinets

When it comes to kitchen design, white cabinets are undeniably classic and timeless—but colorful kitchens will always be the ones to steal the show, attract attention, and collect compliments. Recently, we’ve been noticing colorful kitchen cabinets racking up the likes on Instagram, with various shades of blue and green (and even pink!) causing us to give our boring white cabinets some second thoughts. Exercise caution when admiring the gorgeous kitchens below, because fair warning: they will make you want to repaint.

Kitchen cabinets in Sherwin Williams Seaworthy navyJersey Ice Cream Co / Lokal / Heidi’s Bridge

Seaworthy Kitchen Cabinets

When searching for a paint color that was historic, yet bold and eye-catching at the same time, the husband-and-wife design duo behind Jersey Ice Cream Co opted for a rich navy. Sherwin-Williams’ Seaworthy looks simultaneously modern and timeless when featured on the kitchen cabinets in the Philadelphia boutique hotel Lokal, photographed by Heidi’s Bridge.

Pewter Green kitchen by Emily Henderson
Emily Henderson Design / Photography by Sara Tramp
Luxe Green Kitchen

In her Portland kitchen renovation, designer Emily Henderson created a monster: a kitchen so pretty it makes our own kitchens feel bad about themselves. Although she completed this project back in 2018, we’re still a little green with envy (sorry, I had to) years later. The good news: we can steal this enviable style by painting both upper and lower cabinets in the same hue, Pewter Green by Sherwin-Williams.

green lower kitchen cabinet with open shelving above
Shavonda Gardner
Paint Just the Lower Cabinets

If you’re afraid to commit to painting your entire kitchen, take a tip from Shavonda Gardner and paint just the lower cabinets. Leave upper cabinets white or opt for open shelving to help balance out a more dramatic hue on the bottom cabinets. Check out the full kitchen here, with cabinets painted in Hunter Green by Benjamin Moore.

Rose pink and black kitchen cabinets
Farrow & Ball
Play with Contrast

In this Farrow & Ball kitchen, moody black lower cabinets are an unexpected match to rose pink walls. The darker color on the bottom helps ground the space. To get the look, pair up Sulking Room Pink with Paean Black.

light blue kitchen cabinets and open shelving
Clare / The Simple Sweet Life
Soothing Blue

To create a kitchen that’s calm and airy, follow Robyn from the Simple Sweet Life‘s lead and brush on a soft blue-green hue. When paired with shiny brass hardware and open shelving above, the lower cabinets in Headspace by Clare look fresh and modern. You would never guess that this bright kitchen is actually located in the basement.

Green kitchen cabinet in kitchenette
Jenny Komenda / Juniper
Another Dreamy Green

After deciding to go adventurous in her studio kitchenette, Jenny Komenda from Juniper Print Shop painted the white Shaker cabinets in Pratt and Lambert’s Sierra Night. If you decide to steal the style for your own kitchen, follow the cabinet painting tutorial on the Juniper home blog.

Kitchen cabinet in Hale Navy with brass hardware
Benjamin Moore
Failproof Navy

Looking for just one more reason why you should introduce some blue paint into your kitchen color scheme? Behold, luxurious cabinets brushed in Benjamin Moore’s cult-favorite color Hale Navy. Hale Navy with brass hardware is a can’t-go-wrong comb

14 Things that make your home look cluttered

1. Too-full Countertops

When your kitchen countertops are full of clutter, your space looks dirty even when it isn’t. The same applies to your bathroom countertops. Look at it this way, when you go to a hotel room, the counters are free of clutter and appear spacious and clean. This same feeling applies to your own home. The solution to this problem is to utilize those cabinets and drawers. Put away any and everything you can and only leave minimal decorations on your kitchen and bathroom countertops. This will lead to them looking clean and spacious and will achieve that uncluttered look you desire.

2. Excessive Decorations

Any home decorator knows that you can definitely go overboard when it comes to decorating your home. Every room needs space for the eyes to “rest,” meaning every square inch of your home doesn’t require decorations. This might be too many family photos, too many knick knacks, too many collectibles, etc. You get the idea. A room that is clean but filled with excessive decorations still feels dirty. The solution here is to minimize your decor. Not every book you own needs to be on display. Not every family photo needs to be hung on the wall. Go through your space and remove outdated photos and decorations. Move those photos to an album. Try to leave empty space as often as possible.

3. The exterior of the refrigerator

The exterior of the refrigerator has tendency to become a clutter spot quickly. We mount things with magnets and then never remove them. We add items so we “won’t forget” to do them, but we still forget.

Even the cleanest kitchen looks messy if the refrigerator is covered. Let’s address this with a practical solution. Create a good paper filling system and a command center. Do not use the refrigerator for this purpose.

Take everything down, file what you need to, address that “to do” list, and only hang what is absolutely necessary. On my refrigerator, we keep a magnetic shopping list and our weekly home menu. That’s it.

No excessive photos, no excessive magnets, and most of all, we keep no paper clutter. I keep this on the side of my refrigerator, also, because I want the front surface clean and clear of clutter.

4. A messy entryway

The entryway to your home is the first thing your guests see when they come to your home. If you live is a cold or wet climate where you often remove your shoes, this is an area you will definitely need to address. Look at a few ideas on Pinterest and start getting some ideas of how to best utilize this space.

If you remove shoes every time you enter your home, let’s create a shoe cubby for every individual’s shoes. If the kids hang coats, gloves, and outerwear, let’s create a space to hang and store these items.

My kids carry backpacks home from school, so we have a plastic bin for each of them to put their school papers into. I have a space to hang my purse, which I carry daily, and my husband has a box for his wallet and keys. Creating a space for these items will eliminate the clutter and help you get out the door faster each morning as you’ll know where everything is stored.

5. Paper piles

Everyone has a tendency to pile mail and papers from time to time. Piles of paper create a cluttered look to your home. The solution to this problem is a good paper and mail filing system. Every bill we receive goes immediately into our financial binder, so I can pay it by the due date. Every other paper that comes into our home gets either filed or eliminated. Make a habit of addressing the paper clutter daily, so you can stay on top of this problem.

6. Too many throw pillows

Have you been in a store and adored those beautiful furniture displays or bedroom decor? Often, you’ll find a lovely bedroom set with a matching comforter, bedskirt, pillow shams, throws, and an abundance of decorative pillows. It looks inviting and comforting, but I’m afraid it isn’t very practical on a daily basis to remove and then add back all of those pillows when you make your bed.

If you absolutely love your decorative pillows and can’t part with them, then you must be sure you display them neatly. Otherwise, consider storing a few pillows or moving them to the closet until you decide if you want to keep them.

The same applies to the sofa. Excessive throw pillows constantly require straightening to keep them looking neat and uncluttered. Excessive pillows also require extra work for you when it comes to cleaning.

These items still need washing from time to time, so try to keep them at a minimum or swap them out occasionally. Once you’ve decluttered your pillows, avoid the temptation to buy more.

7. Toy clutter

A room cluttered with toys is definitely a battle for most moms. We look at creative ways to store them and buy storage containers. But, first we need to eliminate the clutter before we can store it all away. Go through the toys routinely and throw out anything that is broken. Donate anything that is no longer enjoyed by the kids.

Store away half of the toys and rotate them out monthly. Teach the kids to do a daily toy clean up with you until they get the hang of doing it on their own. Do not create a complicated storage system. This only makes it harder to put everything away.

Clean up should be accomplished in 10 minutes or less. If you cannot do it in ten minutes, your storage system is probably too complicated to maintain. Maintenance is key to keeping the clutter at bay.

8. Too much furniture

Everyone has been in a home that is filled to every corner with wall to wall furniture. Sometimes we inherit furniture and antiques, and we don’t know quite what to do with them. We feel guilty for parting with them because they belonged to a loved one. Parting with the furniture feels wrong. So, let’s address this issue.

Getting rid of furniture or gifts from loved ones does NOT mean you don’t love or appreciate them. Instead you must love your space. Loving your space means you want to be in it and enjoy it every day. You want to fill your space with the things that you love.

Keeping everything everyone gives you will prevent you from doing that. Go through your home and remove any excess furniture and create space for the eyes to “rest.”

9. Laundry and “clean” clothes

We all have to deal with laundry and the work that it requires. Laundry baskets full of clean clothes create a feeling of clutter if you don’t address this daily. Get in the habit of putting clean laundry away every single day. Do not let it linger.

Also, maybe you or your spouse have a space in your room or closet where you lay “clean” clothes, meaning you only wore it a few hours and it’s too clean to wash but too dirty to put away. Start hanging or folding these items daily. Avoid putting them on the chairs or the beds. Create a specific space to store these until they need to be washed.

10. Dishes in the sink or on the countertop

This goes without saying, but dishes have to be addressed daily. Once it’s clean and dry, put it away as soon as you can to avoid the clutter.

11. Unmade beds

As the bed goes, so goes the room. Make your beds daily. Teach the kids to do so, also. Again, do not make this more complicated than it has to be by adding to many decorative pillows and too many accessories.

12. Overfilled shelves and cabinets

Declutter the interior of those cabinets. Too much clutter creates stress when they are filled to capacity. You can’t find what you need if there is too much stuff. Eliminate all of the excess and create a space for only what you use and love.

13. Visible cords and wires

We all have and use our home electronics, but the cords are unsightly. Look at Pinterest for some creative ways to hide those cords. There are plenty of ideas and resources available to accomplish this. You’ll appreciate the look of your home when you address this clutter issue.

14. Unclear surface tops

Not every space in your home needs to be covered and decorated. If you have a tendency to create piles and decorate your dresser tops, bedside table tops and bureau tops, you’ll make your space look cluttered. Leave open spaces as often as you can. Put items away in drawers and containers and keep the clutter at minimum.

So, there you have it. We have addressed 14 common reasons your home looks cluttered. I hope this information has been beneficial to you. If you enjoy reading this type of material, subscribe to my blog where you can find ideas and tips for cleaning and organizing everything in your home.

Source: https://deemiddleton.com/

A Helpful Guide on Selling Your Home with Ease this Spring

As soon as spring rolls around, the “Home for Sale” signs start popping up all over BC like wildflowers. The Penticton real estate market is no different, and with the recent upswing in activity here, I’m frequently asked “What can I do to get my home ready to sell?” Here are a few tips to ensure your home sells fast and gets top dollar.

  1. Quit Calling It “Your” Home

If you’ve been in your home for a long time, selling can be an emotional rollercoaster, so let’s turn to Elsa from Frozen for advice: “Just let it go.” Stop thinking about it as “your home” and let go of the sentimental attachment you have to it. I know, I know. It sounds harsh but the sooner you accept that someone else will be living there, the sooner you can move on and focus on your new home. There are a few tricks that help with this: take the time to say goodbye to every room, recall the good times you’ve had there and picture the happiness of another family doing the same, or envision yourself handing over the keys to the new owners. Trust me, it helps.

  1. Pack Away Your Personal Stuff

What I said above about having an attachment to something? It affects potential buyers too. They have a hard time seeing past personal artifacts like family pictures and heirlooms because it causes them to think “I wonder who lives here?” instead of “I could see myself living here!” By taking down your stuff, potential buyers get a blank slate to envision their own pictures on the wall, free of any bias or distraction. Plus, you get a head start on packing.



  1. Organize

People love to snoop. It’s human nature. Buyers will go through everything, so take a bit of time to organize the little things in your home. Simple stuff like having neatly stacked dishes, turning coffee cups so the handles face the same way, or lining up miscellaneous items (shoes, spices, books, etc.) sends a message to anyone viewing your home that if you’re willing to organize the little things, you’ve probably taken care of the big things too.

  1. Clean and Repair

Ever been to a garage sale where things were worn out and dirty? Did it make you want to buy anything? If you weren’t willing to drop a toonie on something in bad condition, what do  you think the odds are someone will give you hundreds of thousands of dollars for your home if it’s filthy and falling apart? People want their new home to be move-in ready and doing a few minor repairs and making your house is spotless can add thousands to your asking price. Patch holes, fix leaky faucets, paint, replace burnt out light bulbs… it all adds up to the image of a more complete, well cared for home. This is a great checklist to help make sure your home looks its best.

There you go. This quick list should put you on the right path to selling your home. But you know what would help even more? Me! If you’re planning to put your Penticton home up for sale, get in touch. I’ll work with you to make sure we get the most value possible out of your current house and find you the ideal south Okanagan property to start making new memories in.

Keeping Clients Out of Hot Water Over Groundwater Licencing

Droughts, water restrictions and wildfires have all become part of a typical BC summer, just like Okanagan cherries or a BC Day barbecue. Despite all of BC’s lakes and rivers, the truth is that water scarcity is a serious concern. That’s why the provincial government introduced the Water Sustainability Act in 2016, which requires anyone diverting and using groundwater for non-domestic purposes to apply for a groundwater license by March 1, 2022.

Groundwater licensing & REALTORS®
If you have a client who uses groundwater for non-domestic purposes but doesn’t apply for a water license by March 1, 2022, they risk losing their right to access groundwater on their property. As a REALTOR®, you can add value to your clients by making sure they understand this requirement and how to apply for their license.

How groundwater licensing works
The groundwater licensing requirement came into effect on February 29, 2016. But that doesn’t mean it only applies to anyone who began using groundwater after this date-it applies to everyone. If you were a non-domestic groundwater user on or before February 29, 2016, you will submit an existing use licence application. If you were a non-domestic groundwater user on or after March 1, 2016, you will submit a new use application.

The deadline to apply is March 1, 2022 and the government is waiving the one-time application fee to people who submit their application on or before this date.

What about domestic users?
If you use groundwater for domestic use in a private home, you do not require a licence. However, as a REALTOR®, you should encourage your clients to register their well, if they have one. By registering their well, they create a record of their water use, which helps ensure it’s considered by the decision-makers dealing with other licence applications.

How to apply for a licence
For information on how to apply or to submit an application for groundwater licensing or register a well, please visit the Province’s Secure Your Water Rights Today portal. FrontCounter BC has also recently published a useful webinar on how to submit an application for an existing use groundwater licence.

Posted by
April van Ert

Tips For Waste Reduction

What are the 5 R’s of Waste Reduction?

Zero Waste

1) Reduce 

The most important part of waste minimization. Reducing waste means not purchasing goods to begin within, limiting your consumption to mostly needs and limited wants, saying no to excess packaging, and one-time use items.

2) Reuse

Second most desirable on the waste minimization triangle. Reuse includes repairing broken items, finding new purposes for or donating old and unused items, and using things like reusable shopping bag and water bottles as alternatives to single-use items.

3) Recycle

Recycling is what you do if you CANNOT reduce or reuse an item. Recycle as much as possible to keep material out of landfills. Remember that not properly sorting recycling can do more harm than good, to learn more about how to sort your recycling by visit the Curbside Recycling or Landfill Recycling Depot pages.

4) Recover

As it applies to waste minimization, is reclaiming energy or recyclable materials from the waste stream.This is typically done by waste to energy technology.

5) Residuals

The last phase in the triangle. Residual management is the final treatment and/or disposal of a waste that cannot be used in any other way. This means disposing of it in your curbside garbage cart, or taking it to the landfill.

At Home:

1) Recycle More & Better

Most materials are in-fact recyclable. Did you know that when we don’t properly sort recycling (i.e. plastic bags in curbside recycling) it can make the whole recycle truck end up in the landfill? Learn more about recycling by visiting the Landfill Recycling Depot and Curbside Recycling pages.

2) Make Use of Leftovers

Try ‘Kitchen Sink’ recipes to reduce food waste. Use old vegetables, leftovers and products gone unused to keep edible food out of landfills. Recipes like quiche, stir-fry’s, and soup are all good examples of putting leftovers to use, not only will this reduce waste, but it saves money!

3) Avoid

Do not use single-use items in your home. Consider ceramic dishware, metal or bamboo cutlery, and glass products instead of their disposable counter-parts. Use cloths instead of paper towel. Simple switches can go a long way.

In Your Yard:

1) Consider Composting

A large portion of waste in landfills is in-fact compostable material that could have been re-purposed into good-for-your-garden compost.  Vegetable scraps, egg shell, coffee grinds, tea bags and more can all be composted.Interested in composting at home? Check out the RDOS compost bin sale by clicking here. For more information on composting at home click here.

2) Try ‘Grasscycling’

Grasscycling is the practice of leaving grass clippings on the lawn after mowing. Letting clippings decompose naturally back into grass restores Nitrogen, helps lawns retain water, and keeps lawns healthy. Grasscycling keeps lawns green,and reduces yard waste going to landfills. To learn more about natural lawn care click here.

3) USE Your Compost

Using compost not only gives plants the nutrients they need to grow strong, but helps them retain water. This reduces irrigation needs. Further, using compost limits the need for other garden products(i.e. fertilizers), keeping your lawn green and saving you money! Learn more about compost here.


1) Bring Your Own

Bring your own grocery bags, mesh net bags for produce, and containers for packaging goods and carrying them. Keep containers and bags in your car or purse to ensure they’re always with you and not forgotten!

2) Buy Bulk

Consider purchasing bulk goods which can be put into reusable containers, bags and your own packaging. This eliminates unnecessary waste from packaging, lets you purchase the correct amount for your needs (no excess), and re-purposes old or unused containers.

3) Know Your Needs vs.Wants

Only purchase items you know you’ll use. Distinguish needs from wants. Ask yourself: is this a one-time use item or do I already own something similar? Am I purchasing this on an impulse or have I thought about it for at least a month?

General Tips:

1) Eliminate Single Use

Bring a reusable coffee mug with you to avoid using paper coffee cups which either requires recycling (using energy and resources), or ends up in landfills. Use refillable water bottles instead of plastic ones. Many shops offer a small discount for bringing your own mug, ask at the counter.

2) Reduce Your Emissions

Summerland is a community where many people are fortunate to live close to work, grocery stores, schools etc. Where it is feasible, consider walking, carpooling, or biking to where you need to go. Reducing your carbon footprint significantly contributes to a waste reduction lifestyle.

3) Be Water Conscious

Water is a limited resource in the beautiful Okanagan Valley. Try reducing your shower time, washing only full loads of laundry, and washing in cold, instead of hot water. Water plants and compost piles with leftover “grey water” from bathing, washing dishes, etc. Be sure that water doesn’t contain any harmful soaps.

Seller Information! Thinking of Selling?

There are a million different reasons why people sell their homes, but every seller has one thing in common: the desire to get as much money as possible from their existing residence as quickly and as hassle-free as possible. (If your home is your principal residence, you won’t have to pay capital gains tax on any profits from the sale. If, on the other hand, it is an investment property, prepare for the tax man!)

Before you begin the selling process, really evaluate why you’re moving. Do you have too few rooms, or too many? Has your job moved to another city and you’re relocating? Are the neighbours driving you away? Or are you simply looking for a change? A complete analysis of your current position will set a good foundation for your next home hunt.

When is the Best Time to Sell Your Home?

Everyone seems to have specific ideas on when the right time is to sell. Some base their theories on the overall economy, while others will tell you that there are key buying months that you’ll want to capitalize on.

If you’re not buying and selling strategically or for investment, the best time to sell is really when you feel your existing home will not meet your future needs. The best reason to purchase a new home is to take advantage of your family and lifestyle changes. Do you wish to be closer to a school? Are you switching jobs? Do you have an aging parent to care for?

In Canada, weather and holidays do play a factor. Almost no one goes house hunting around Christmas, and few give up their summer vacations. Of course, those with school-aged children are less likely to move during the school year and summer is an ideal time. In some areas, there is a definite “spring cycle” — perhaps it’s a bit of spring fever and a wish to break out of the bonds of winter.

Some gamblers look for winter bargains and then try to sell their homes during the spring cycle. But overall, that could be more tension and aggravation than you wish. And the monetary results may be disappointing.

Another key factor to consider is the economy. Are interest rates higher or lower in comparison to your current mortgage? If they are higher, you may want to stick with your current home, as your new mortgage payments could be uncomfortable. If rates are lower, you might be able to trade up to a more expensive home without a significant increase in your monthly mortgage obligation.

What’s more, if it’s a buyers’ market, you may be in a strong position to purchase a new home, especially if you have accumulated some equity in your current property.

Are There Costs Involved in Selling?

Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Even if you think your home is perfect, you may have to do some minor repairs or upgrades to make your home more attractive to potential purchasers.

  • A professional home inspection may be a condition of the offer. If the inspection points to problems, your purchaser may ask that you make the necessary repairs or choose not to close the deal.
  • Closing costs, such as lawyers’ fees or unpaid taxes, will also have to be paid.
  • Mortgage discharge fees may be levied by your lending institution.
  • Sales commissions must be paid. They usually amount to 6% of the selling price.

Buy or sell first?

That’s tricky. After all, if you find a purchaser for your existing home, before you’ve found a new one, you may find yourself living out of a suitcase if convenient closing dates can not be negotiated. On the other hand, if you find your dream home before you’ve unloaded your old one, you may be faced with carrying two mortgages for a time.

So how do you manage? Easy. Do your homework and have a good idea about the neighbourhood and type of home you’re looking for. Do an honest evaluation of your family’s needs and budget.

Speak to your Real Estate Sales Representative and start your new home search as soon as your existing home hits the market.

If you’ve found a home, before you’ve sold your existing one, use “sale of your existing home” as a condition on your offer. If you don’t sell your house within a fixed period of time, you can choose not to go through with the offer. This, however, is a difficult condition for many vendors to agree upon and you may find that you have to forgo your price negotiating power.

Purchasing a home before you sell could be a risky strategy if you’re counting on the proceeds from the sale.

If you’ve found a purchaser before you’ve found your next home, use “purchase of a new home” as a condition when you sign back the agreement. Again, it will only be for a fixed time. Even if you have not found the ideal next house by the time the deal closes, you may still wish to proceed with the offer. As a buyer with a “sold house” you will be in a better position to negotiate price.

There are a million different reasons why people sell their homes, but every seller has one thing in common: the desire to get as much money as possible from their existing residence as quickly and as hassle-free as possible. (If your home is your principal residence, you won’t have to pay capital gains tax on any profits from the sale. If, on the other hand, it is an investment property, prepare for the tax man!)

Before you begin the selling process, really evaluate why you’re moving. Do you have too few rooms, or too many? Has your job moved to another city and you’re relocating? Are the neighbours driving you away? Or are you simply looking for a change? A complete analysis of your current position will set a good foundation for your next home hunt.

Buyer Information! Location and Affordability.

The first question you’re bound to ask is, “How much home can I afford?” That depends on a number of factors:

  • Your selected location. Are you set on a specific area? Downtown? The suburbs? A rural setting?
  • Your preferred type of home. Detached? Semi? Duplex? High-rise? Link? Townhouse? New or Resale? There are a variety of home styles you will want to explore.
  • Your income. After all, it’s not just the mortgage you have to take into account. There are property taxes, utilities, and in some cases condo or strata fees. As a general rule of thumb, your monthly home-carrying cost should not exceed 30-35% of your income.
  • Market conditions. Is it a buyer’s, sellers or balanced market?

There are also additional costs to keep in mind. It’s a good idea to work out exactly what you want and what you can afford before you begin the search. Be specific! After all, you don’t want to suddenly come to the realization that your dream house has come with a nightmare of bills and expenses. Stick to looking at houses in your price range. The more you’ve thought it out, the better your REALTOR® can meet your needs.

A part of deciding just what you can afford can be accomplished by meeting with your bank or a mortgage broker and negotiating a pre-approved mortgage. There are many types of mortgages and many different terms. Research all of your options. This ensures that there are no surprises once you’re ready to make an offer.

Once you’ve figured out your monthly expenses and what you can afford, you can start your search. It could happen that the first home you see is the one you want; or you might look at home after home with none of them catching your interest. Rest assured, the home you’re looking for is out there, and when you find it, you’re ready to make an offer. If your offer is accepted, the next steps are closing and moving into your new home.

As you can see, you will want to give some thought to how long you intend to stay in your home. It may be difficult to answer before you’ve even found your home, but if it’s your first home give some thought to the resale value when it is time to upgrade. On the other hand, if you’re planning to stay in your home for a long time, consider your future needs and purchase a home that will accommodate them.

Purchasing a home is easy once you put your plans into action. Contact us now and we’ll help you get started.