5 New Year's Resolutions for Your Home

Every year when January rolls around you vow to lose weight, save money or spend more time with family and friends. But what goals do you set for your home?
 
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In the spirit of new beginnings, HGTV has consulted the experts and come up with some resolutions that will make your home a more beautiful, efficient, clean and green place in the coming year.

Here are our five picks for the best home improvement resolutions for the new year and how to achieve them:

1: Streamline the stuff

One of the best and least expensive ways to feel better about your home is to clear it of clutter.

 

Each year most of us acquire a mountain of stuff. Without some regular purging, cabinets and drawers get jam-packed and it becomes hard to find the things you use and enjoy the most. (All that clutter also makes your house look dated and dirty, designers say.)

This year resolve to go room-by-room periodically clearing anything that you don't use, wear or love and donate it to charity. After that, think twice about what you bring in, says Antoinette Nue, an Atlanta consultant who specializes in helping people simplify and go green.

"Fill your home with the things that raise your energy level and make you feel good, and get rid of the things that drain your energy or are broken," she says.

Stash useful (but not beautiful) items such as DVDs, remotes and those kicked-off shoes in simple woven baskets. Group similar items togetheronsleektrays,saysStuartMcCormick, a designer with Liz Levin Interiors in Washington D.C.

 

Clear your counters of everything you don't use on a daily basis. And get ready to breathe a little easier in your own home. 

2: Make it safe and sound

Your home may be beautiful, but is it safe? There are a few things that every homeowner should do to ensure that they're not living with a potential health hazard or fire risk.

First, check your house for radon. This colorless, odorless gas causes about 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year from the radioactive particles it traps in your lungs as you breathe, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. One in every fifteen homes has elevated levels. And with test kits costing as little as $20 at your local hardware store, there's no reason not to get right on that.

While we're on the subject of deadly gas, make sure you install a carbon monoxide detector on every bedroom floor in addition to fire detectors. If a chimney flue or furnace vent gets blocked or leaks, carbon monoxide could back up in your house and kill you. Like a radon test, this is a small investment — $40 or more — for such an important safeguard.

Watch out for dryer lint. We know you clean the little trap inside the door, but most people neglect to clean the vents and ducts behind the dryer. Lint may seem innocent, but it's highly combustible, according to the U.S. Fire Administration, accounting for more than 15,000 building fires a year.

 

Make sure your house can breathe. Hickory Hills, Ill. home inspector Jack McGraw is always surprised at how many people's bathrooms and attics aren't vented to the outside (or the vents are covered over with shingles.) This makes you a prime candidate for mold.

And if you're considering a remodel — and your home was last built or remodeled before 1978 — consider testing for lead paint and asbestos flooring. It will have to handled properly during removal, or particles can be released into the air for you to ingest.

3: Shrink your bills (and your carbon footprint in the process)

When people think of going green, they often think it takes solar panels or a hybrid car to make a difference.

Not so, says Bob Schildgen, who writes the "Hey Mr. Green" column for Sierra magazine. It just takes a little old-fashioned common sense.

The best place to start is by cutting your energy usage in your home:

  • Remember your mom's advice and switch off the lights when you leave a room.
  • Turn off your air conditioner when you leave the house and dial your heater down to 55 degrees at night.
  • Install compact fluorescent bulbs and low-flow showerheads.
  • Try drying some of your clothes on the line and wait for the dishwasher or washing machine to be full before you run them.
  • Turn off your power strips and/or set your home computer to revert to sleep mode when not in use.
  • Water your yard less. Put in drought-tolerant landscaping if necessary.
  • Give composting a try. Your garden will thank you.

4: Work out a weekly system for keeping your house clean

Here are a few tips for keeping the mess under control from Jeff Campbell, author of the book Speed Cleaning and owner of the Clean Team housekeeping service in San Francisco.

Daily: Dishes go in the dishwasher every night - no excuses! Dirty clothes go in the hamper and jackets or clean clothes are hung in the closet. Bring everything back to its assigned place.

Weekly: Clean your entire house, using these tips:

  • Keep all of your cleaners, as well as rubber gloves and spare cleaning cloths - in a portable carryall that moves with you from room to room.
  • Stash cleaning implements such as a toothbrush, scraper, sponge, a few cleaning cloths and plastic bags in a builder's apron that you wear when you clean. Hook your glass cleaner and all-purpose cleaning spray on the loops to keep your hands free as you work around the room clockwise, cleaning from high (cabinets) to low (floors.)
  • Focus on one type of cleaning at a time. It's faster, Campbell says. Wipe down fingerprints on all of the cabinets, for instance, before moving on to spraying and wiping counters. Then move on to windows and mirrors and appliances. Once that's done move on to sweeping and then mopping floors.
  • For optimum efficiency, enlist the help of your family. If you can, divide the jobs among at least three parties: One of you can do the dusting/vacuuming and changing beds, the other can do the bathroom cleanup, leaving only the kitchen and trash emptying for you to handle. The upside? You can get the whole house done in 45 minutes, Campbell says, leaving more time on the weekends for the park or the movies.

5: Get your place ready for entertaining

Each year most of us vow to spend more time with family and friends. To make you feel like inviting people in, why not give the areas you entertain in a little update?

You don't have go for broke here and invest in a new kitchen remodel. All it takes to get a fresh new look is a little bit of rearranging and a few updates says designer McCormick.

One easy update that makes your home seem more "finished" is the addition of plants, she says.

"They bring in new energy and help clean the air," she says. "And it's a great way to decorate if you're on a budget."

A couple of dramatic presentations like a large flowering agapanthus or potted palm in a bright ceramic planter that complements your existing color scheme will do the trick.

Pulling out a new accent color from your existing decor can make the whole room seem fresh. Pick an underused color in the room and add more of it in the form of a new pillow or throw to update your look, McCormick advises. A colorful rug or runner can also help anchor your space.

Lastly, take some time to rearrange your furniture so it is oriented in conversation groups and not just facing the television. That just might up for chances for real conversation and connection in the New Year.

 

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May your Thanksgiving Day be filled with peace, laughter, love, family, friends, happiness and lots of delicious food! 

 

 

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 Twin Peaks Home of Laura Palmer for Sale, Exterior

Windermere Real Estate

When house-hunting, think carefully about your needs, instead of being wowed by home features you may never use.

 

It's easy to be awe-struck by a razzle-dazzle listing. Everyone loves to look at marble countertops, hot tubs and master suites, but make sure a home meets your practical needs before you start indulging your wants. The average American homebuyer keeps a home for about 9 years, so you want to be sure about your investment before you buy. Gather a list of criteria before you start looking at homes, and keep a journal to keep track of how each property you look at matches up with your list.

 

To get started, think about what you dislike about your current digs. Are you tired of bumping into your significant other in your cramped-quarters kitchen? Are you expecting a new family member, or looking to start a family and worried about space? Are you an empty-nester who wants to streamline and downsize? Make a note of whatever it is that's giving you the itch to move, and make sure it is at the top of the list for must-have features. If you're happy with your current home but have to move to a new area, try to match your new home with your current abode's amenities.


Next, consider the amount of space you'll need in your new home. How many bedrooms do you need? What's the least amount of square footage you're willing to live in? Make your numbers slightly flexible.

 

Also, consider the things you love about your current home and neighborhood that you would be unhappy without. Love reading in the late-afternoon sun? Look for a house with a sunroom or bright living area. If you can't live without your daily java, make sure the home you choose has a coffee shop within walking distance.

 

Once you've written the specifics, prioritize your lists. Put things your new home must have at the top, and put wants (things you'd like to have but don't need) towards the bottom. Share the list with your real estate agent to help them find listings in your price range that meet all of your needs.



 

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Home buyer activity returned to more typical summer levels in Metro Vancouver last month.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in the region totalled 2,960 in July 2017, an 8.2 per cent decrease from the 3,226 sales recorded in July 2016, and a decrease of 24 per cent compared to June 2017 when 3,893 homes sold.

To read the full report go to click here.

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Wishing you a very Happy Canada Day! On this day, it's good to celebrate all the things that bring us together, as a community - and a country. Today, let's celebrate being neighbours.

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By providing the strata corporation with a summary of current deficiencies, future projected capital expenditures, and costs for maintenance of each component Depreciation Reports help Strata Corporations, including bare-land strata corporations, plan for repair, maintenance and replacement of common property, limited common property and common assets over a 30 year period. As well, the depreciation report provides a financial plan for the strata corporation to prepare for these expenditures. The report is to be updated every three years and will be an integral part of the strata corporation's long-term planning.

The Report must contain;

-A physical inventory of the common property and assets

-Anticipated maintenance, repair and replacement costs for common expenses projected over 30 years

-A financial forecasting section with at least three cash flow funding models

Depreciation Reports are also known as reserve fund studies in other jurisdictions and have been a standard requirement in most Canadian provinces.

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On April 13, the federal government officially introduced their plan to legalize the production and consumption of cannabis by July 2018.

 

The proposed legislation would allow adults to legally grow up to four cannabis plants per residence for personal use, but the bill leaves enforcement up to each jurisdiction. To date, few individuals or organizations have spoken up about the negative impacts the proposed legislation could have on properties.

 

Risks include mould, electrical fires and chemicals used on the premises, which can affect the health and well-being of those who live or work in these buildings. Moreover, there are no consistent standards or processes in BC or any other province for remediating buildings used to produce drugs, or for making property history information available to occupants.

 

BCREA believes that homebuyers and renters needed to know if their home was ever identified as having a history of drug production—whether or not that production was legal. BCREA continues to call for accessible information about the history of properties used in drug operations, as well as for clear and consistent property remediation standards.

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Act before July 1, 2017 or you will be charged a 1% tax on its assessed value.
 
Rent your property by July 1 If your property is not a principal residence, eligible for an exemption, or rented out for at least six months* in 2017, it will be subject to the Empty Homes Tax. Properties that have not yet been rented will need to be occupied by a tenant no later than July 1 (and remain occupied for the remainder of 2017) in order to be excluded from the tax. To find helpful information about becoming a landlord, or a property management company to rent out your home, please visit landlordbc.ca or pama.ca * Homes must be tenanted for a minimum total of six months, in periods of 30 or more 
 
Property status declarations for 2017 Every owner of residential property will have to make a property status declaration for the 2017 calendar year. In December, you will receive instructions outlining how to make this declaration, which will be due by February 2, 2018.
 
Click Here for more details
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In April 2017, there was a total of 3,553 sales which is a 25.7% decrease from the record 4,781 sales in April 2016 and an 0.7% decrease compared to March 2017.

 

The sales in April were 4.8% above the 10-year sales average for the month.

 

During the last few months, condo’s and townhome sales have dominated the residential market in Metro Vancouver. They’ve accounted for 68.5%, on average, of all residential sales.

 

There is HOT, HOT, HOT demand for condos and townhomes as shown in the infographic.

 

The benchmark price for condo’s is $554,100. There were 2,094 active listings, 1,722 sales, resulting in a sales-to-active listing ratio of 82.2%. For townhomes, the benchmark price is $701,800. There were 1,066 active listings, 620 sales, resulting in a sales-to-active listing ratio of 58.2% which indicates a good demand. As for detached homes, the benchmark price for detached properties is $1,516,500. There were 4,653 active listings, only 1,211 sales, resulting in a sales-to-active listing ratio of 26%.

 

The demand for condo’s and townhomes is coming both from older buyers downsizing, and younger buyers trying to get into the market.

Across the Lower Mainland, the benchmark price for condos has gone up 8.2% over the past three months, compared to 5.5% for townhomes and 3.2% for single-family homes.

 

Over that period, the biggest changes in condo prices were in:

·         Coquitlam: 10.1% increase.

·         Vancouver East: 9.5% increase.

·         Richmond: 9.0% increase.

 

Some areas did still see large increases in single-family detached home prices, including Port Coquitlam 9.9% and Coquitlam 7.2%.

 

Sales-to-Active Listing Ratio in recent months:

September 24.1%

October 24.4%

November 26.4%

December 27.0%

January 2017 21%

February 2017 31.9%

March 2017 47.2%

April 2017 45.5%

 

To put this into perspective, 14% or under indicates a Buyer's market, 20% or above is a Seller's market, and 14%-19% is a balanced market.

 

For more information please contact me.

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For the 70% of Canadians who own a home, it is a place to live, raise a family, and connects them to their community.

Due to Canada’s tax system’s Principal Residence Exemption, when we sell our homes, any increased value or “capital gains” are not taxed.

 

This tax break matters to Canadian homeowners. Collectively, we have about $3 trillion in home equity and our homes are often our largest financial asset.

However, starting with 2016 income tax returns, there are some changes in how homeowners qualify for the Principal Residence Exemption.

 

Until now, the Canada Revenue Agency has not required Canadians to report on a home sale during a tax season. However, if you sold your home in 2016 or later, you will need to complete a Schedule 3, Capital Gains of the T1 Income Tax and Benefit Return in order to report your sale.

 

The good news is that, in terms of taxes, nothing has changed. The same tax benefit is available to anyone who sells their home, provided the property was the principal residence for every year you owned it – even if you use part of your home for business purposes. There is no “new tax” involved, only a requirement you report the sale details on your tax returns.

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In February 2017, there was a total of 2,425 sales which is a 41.9% decrease from the record 4,172 sales in February 2016 and an 59.2% increase compared to January 2017.

 

The sales in January were 7.7% below the 10-year February sales average for the month.

 

As you can see from the infographic, there is still a relatively strong demand for condos and townhomes. For apartments, there were 2,253 active listings, 1,275 sales, resulting in a sales-to-active listing ratio of 56.6% which is very strong. For townhomes, there were 1,031 active listings, 404 sales, resulting in a sales-to-active listing ratio of 39.2% which indicates a good demand. As for detached homes, there were 4,310 active listings, only 745 sales, resulting in a sales-to-active listing ratio of 17.3%.

 

Though a 17.3% sales-to-active listing ratio is low for the detached market, I still see homes selling quickly with multiple offers if it is priced and marketed well. There is endless supply of overpriced inventory in the detached market with many sellers thinking they can capitalize from the hot market from last year, which is not happening in today’s market.

 

Sales-to-Active Listing Ratio in recent months:
September 24.1%
October 24.4%
November 26.4%
December 27.0%
January 2017 21%
February 2017 39.1%

 

To put it into perspective, a 10-12% or less indicates it is a Buyer's market, 20% or above is a Seller's market, and in between is a balanced market. The highest we have seen was 70% in March 2016.

 

See the detailed report by clicking here 

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The data relating to real estate on this website comes in part from the MLS® Reciprocity program of either the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) or the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board (CADREB). Real estate listings held by participating real estate firms are marked with the MLS® logo and detailed information about the listing includes the name of the listing agent. This representation is based in whole or part on data generated by either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB which assumes no responsibility for its accuracy. The materials contained on this page may not be reproduced without the express written consent of either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB.